Retail shops could be allowed to serve alcohol in Columbus - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Retail shops could be allowed to serve alcohol in Columbus

By Laura Ann Sills - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - If you could have a glass of the bubbly while shopping for your wedding dress, or a beer while getting your hair cut, would you do it?  It may soon be a possibility in Columbus.  The City Council had a special meeting today to talk about changing a few of the city's alcohol ordinances.

The first item on the Alcohol Ordinance Advisory Board's agenda, proposing to allow businesses with a beer license who cater to serve beer and wine. Right now, only those businesses with a liquor license are allowed to serve alcohol while they cater.  Scott Ressmeyer, owner of Country's BBQ in Columbus, stood in front of council saying he wanted to level the playing field.  Country's serves beer and wine in their restaurants.  Under the present law, when they cater they cannot serve beer and wine.

Another proposed change would allow businesses without a beer or liquor license to have alcohol present for their workers.  This change would make the city's policy more in line with state law.

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson explained, "You could have a holiday party for your employees only, if no clients or customers were invited. A retirement party or a celebration of a real estate deal as long as it is your employees only, after hours, with no clients or customers there."

Mayor Tomlinson and others on the Alcohol Ordinance Advisory Board hope the third proposed amendment will get more businesses and in turn more jobs in the area.

Right now, only a restaurant and bar can get an alcohol license. Proposed is to allow a retail shop to get a license and offer beer and wine to their customers from the hours of 5:00 to midnight.

And, for a thousand dollars more, customers could "brown bag" and bring their own.

This item was not without controversy.  One local barber stood in front of council and said they are being too selective with the time.  He is open until 7:00 and only allowing alcohol from 5:00 to midnight would not be worth the $1,800 annually for him.  He believed if people wanted to drink a beer at noon while getting their hair cut, they should be able to.

Mayor Tomlinson could not give a time for when the changes would be voted on.

Copyright 2011 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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