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Board of Aldermen Votes to Extend Bar Hours to 1 a.m.

Bars in Oxford can now keep their doors open past midnight after the Board of Aldermen voted to amend a new city alcohol ordinance on Tuesday.

Alcoholic beverages can now be sold from 7 a.m. until 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Before, bars were open until midnight Monday through Wednesday and on Saturdays, and until 1 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays.
“One rule for every day of the week makes it a lot easier than multiple rules,” Oxford Police Chief Joey East told the board.
The amended change for hours of operation, in both Section 14-10 (hard liquor) and Section 14-44 (light wine and beer) of Oxford’s Code of Ordinances, now reads:
“It shall be unlawful in the city for the holder of an on-premises retailer’s permit to sell, give or dispense or permit to be consumed in or upon a licensed premise, any alcoholic beverages anytime during the day, except for Monday through Saturday between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. and Sunday between the hours of 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m., or such other times as the mayor or board may designate with the approval of the state tax commission.”
New language was also added to Section 14-44 of the code.
“Our modification request is to make our local beer and light wine ordinance the same as the ABC regulations on alcoholic beverages,” East said.
ABC’s regulations currently don’t allow on-premise consumption of alcoholic beverages at liquor stores. Regulations also don’t allow restaurant or bar customers to leave with their drinks.
The changes to Section 14-44 will apply the same regulations already placed on liquor to beer and light wine.
“Looking at our ordinances, we were not consistent,” said Rusty Rasberry, OPD assistant code enforcement officer. “Adding these two sections would bring us into consistency.”
“We don’t want people drinking in the convenience stores,” he added. “And we really don’t want people leaving the bars at 1 o’clock in the morning with a six-pack under their arm.”
One exception to the ordinance will be that any business permitting the consumption of beer or light wine on the premises can sell draft beer in refillable containers (generally called growlers) prior to 10 p.m. during their normal hours of operation.
The new clauses would read:
“Sale of unopened containers. Any business selling unopened containers of beer or light wine shall not allow the consumption of beer or light wine on the premises where sold.”
“On premise consumption. Any business permitting the consumption of beer or light wine on the premises shall not allow beer or light wine to leave the premises. An exception is allowed for the sale of draft beer in refillable containers (generally called growlers) that are not less than 32 ounces and not more than 128 ounces, prior to 10:00 p.m., during the normal hours of operation.”
After the board unanimously voted in favor, the new alcohol ordinances will go into effect Jan. 18.

By Randall Haley, associate editor of HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at randall.haley@hottytoddy.com.

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