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Friday, September 24, 2021

There may be fewer tents up on football game days this year.

The Gainesville City Commission voted 4-0 Thursday night in favor of a new ordinance that would prevent bars with underage drinking violations from selling alcohol outdoors during game days.

Three commissioners were absent for the vote, including Todd Chase, who voiced his opposition to the measure in the first readings of the ordinance.

Although Chase was present for Thursday’s meeting, he said he stepped out to use the restroom a few minutes before the commission voted on the measure, which caused him to miss the vote.

“I’m not at all comfortable with the concept of economic deterrents against businesses,” Chase said after the meeting. “I didn’t see the need to effectively punish a very small portion of the business community.”

The current underage drinking ordinance requires that a certain number of violations be reached before bars face any consequences.

For example, a venue with a capacity of 200 people or less would need five arrests or notices within three months. For bars with a larger capacity, that number becomes 10 arrests within three months.

The new ordinance will join longer-standing decrees, which mainly prohibit the entry of underage patrons after 9 p.m.

Contact Shelby Webb at swebb@alligator.org.

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