The Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission voted to require bars and restaurants with liquor licenses to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m. in a special called session on Thursday.
The early last call allows for a 45 minute resolution period so patrons who order a beverage at 10 p.m. have 45 minutes to consume the drink. The previous last call time was 2 a.m. Restaurants and bars can still serve food after 10 p.m., but no alcoholic beverages.
District 1 Commissioner Patrick Davenport voted against the early last call. He expressed concerns about how the reduction of hours will impact bars and restaurants and asked that the commission take a more holistic approach to combating COVID-19.
“We seem to always focus on the college students and the bars,” Davenport said.
The mayor and commission also voted to extend the local COVID-19 state of emergency with amendments.
The ordinance allows patrons or employees of restaurants to carry alcoholic beverages across public streets, sidewalks or right-of-way to an outdoor seating area. The commission also voted to amend the language of the face covering exemption to people eating or drinking would only apply if the person was seated.
The ordinance also extends the April 1 occupation tax deadline to Oct. 2.
District 3 Commissioner Melissa Link proposed this amendment, citing research that people are more likely to transmit COVID-19 if they are transmitting the droplets at a higher altitude.