To-go or not-to-go, that’s the question

Published 7:00 am Saturday, May 14, 2016

On Wednesday, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed a bill allowing people to carry open containers of alcohol in entertainment districts. House Bill 1223 is called the “to-go cup” law. The bill is restricted to any city or town in Jackson, Harrison and Hancock counties and goes into effect July 1.
According to the Responsible Hospitality Institute (RHI), entertainment districts, also known as hospitality zones, are high-density, urban areas with restaurants, bars, and venues for late-night entertainment.
The Picayune Item agrees that these entertainment districts or “hospitality zones” can be beneficial for a community, but could also cause problems if managed irresponsibly.
The bill allows patrons to carry open alcoholic beverage containers only in the legal districts according to the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law. The requirements of this law involve the term “open alcoholic beverage container,” which according to the Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law, includes any bottle, can or other receptacle that contains any amount of alcoholic beverage and that is open or has a broken seal or the contents of which are partially removed.
To us, a positive aspect of this law is it allows restaurants in and around that area to be able to place their tables and chairs out near the street. This gives these districts a great community feel because it allows people to dine and interact in a more relaxed atmosphere.
Also, the “to-go cup” law could help the community’s local businesses because more people, tourists and locals, will be drawn to the entertainment districts, making them more populated and lively.
Also, the law could help charitable organizations by attracting more people to their events and fundraisers.
The relaxed atmosphere is great, but with that comes concerns. These concerns are dependent on the person and amount of alcohol consumed and are an important aspect to be considered.

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