Proposed Alcohol Ordinance Changes, Public Survey

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Proposed alcohol ordinance changes would restrict when people under 21 could be in any business earning 35 percent or more of their annual gross sales from alcohol. The proposed ordinance is scheduled for final approval by the City Council Nov. 5 and could take effect Nov. 16. Southeast Missouri State University officials hope the ordinance will reduce underage alcohol consumption. Read more about the proposed ordinance from the Oct. 15 official agenda report.

The City is reviewing the proposed ordinance, which passed the first reading at the Oct.15 City Council meeting. The public, staff and Council have expressed concerns regarding the potentially adverse effects of restricting underage patrons from certain restaurants and entertainment venues. For example, underage friends often serve as designated drivers. Fewer designated drivers could be one unintended result of the proposed ordinance. In addition, prohibiting late-night, underage customers could also reduce revenue for some businesses.

The first draft of the proposed ordinance would have applied to underage employees. Staff will be adding exceptions for the businesses’ employees under age 21 before the Nov. 5 City Council meeting.

Businesses with liquor licenses do not currently report the percent of revenue from alcohol sales. Any business with a City liquor license could be subject to the proposed ordinance if their alcohol sales are 35 percent or more of their revenue. Liquor-licensed businesses not only include bars and restaurants, but also private clubs and stores.

Local public safety and social service agencies routinely work together to reduce unsafe behaviors which include underage drinking. The Cape Girardeau Police Department (CGPD), the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff’s Department, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and Southeast Mo. St. University’s Department of Public Safety recently increased alcohol related enforcement. Since Sept. 7, the CGPD has conducted compliance checks, server training, and aggressive patrols targeting underage people using alcohol and loud parties. Compliance checks are funded by the Southeast Missouri Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition. Read more about increased local efforts and cooperation on our blog.

Related Links

Download a list of current liquor licenses in Cape Girardeau
City of Cape Girardeau: Code of Ordinances, Chapter 5 – Alcoholic Beverages
Proposed New Ordinance: Draft 1 – Oct. 15, 2012   |   Draft 2 – Available Nov. 2
State of Missouri: Revised Statutes, Chapter 311 – Liquor Law
Recent Alcohol Enforcement Efforts – Blog/Information


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