City leaders to vote on Sunday sales on NYE for local bars

SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – It’s eleven months a way but bars in downtown Savannah want to know where they stand for being open New Year’s Eve.

Georgia’s blue laws are coming back into play as New Year’s falls on a Sunday. As of right now bars cannot open to serve to bring in the New Year. It’s the first time it’s happened in eleven years, but a new law gives the city the power to make sure eleven months from now, everyone can be a part of the new year’s celebration.

“How’s it going to look when thousands of tourists wanting to celebrate New Year’s Eve and everywhere is closed,” says Tree House Bar manager Jeff De Rosa.

Everywhere being the dozens of bars and clubs in downtown Savannah.

“Right behind Saint Pat’s and Halloween, New Year’s Eve is the biggest day of the year,” De Rosa adds.

It’s a big day for the city as well in terms of tourism. That’s why they are voting to let their one day of Sunday bar sales be this new year’s eve.

“There are a lot of visitors here that week after Christmas. And my hunch is that just the restaurants that serve alcohol probably cannot handle the volume of business,” says city alderman Bill Durrence.

Restaurants will already be open and serving. some owners not for the city proposal but that’s because they don’t like the state law.

“We have to pay for a Sunday sales permit, I guess what I’d like to see is for everybody to be seen on the same playing field,” says Moon River Brewing company owner John Pinkerton.

State law does not require any permit or payment for bars to open that one day. Here’s another issue, if passed, the resolution keeps with state law, bars are open after noon until midnight. On past weekends for Saint Patrick’s Day Jeff De Rosa at Tree House bar closed then but this is New Year’s Eve.

“So the ball’s going to drop and we have to kick everybody out? You know that’s not right.”

The solution is not in state law, but city law dating back to 2006. It says that any establishment selling alcohol fitting the code can serve on January 1st from 12:01 AM until 3:00 AM.

“After midnight you can be open until three anyway,” says Durrence.

City council votes on the resolution at this Thursday’s meeting.

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