0518 M&C

The Athens-Clarke County Mayor & Commission voted to move the last call for Athens bars from 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., beginning May 20, in a Tuesday special called voting session. (Screenshot courtesy/Shelby Israel)

The Athens-Clarke County Mayor & Commission voted to move the last call for Athens bars from 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m., beginning May 20, in a Tuesday special called voting session.

In an initial effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, ACC government shifted the last call, which announces the remaining 45 minutes patrons have to finish their beverages before the establishment closes, to 9 p.m. in the summer of 2020. This change also shortened last call from 45 to 30 minutes.

After a lawsuit filed against the county by owners of On the Rocks, Moonshine, Buddha Bar, Centro and Cloud, the last call time was moved forward to 10 p.m. By the time the lawsuit was settled in August 2020, last call was 11:30 p.m., where it has remained until this vote.

The commission also passed a settlement amendment which states that the commission will move last call to 2 a.m. in exchange for the bars to promote vaccine clinics on their social media accounts, as well as co-host a vaccination clinic alongside the Clarke County Health Department.

“Once we do remove all COVID restrictions from our local businesses, they no longer qualify for any federal assistance,” District 3 Commissioner Melissa Link said during the session.

Link said the commission should research further the effects removing these restrictions will have on businesses and employees.