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Athens Government/Bars Reach Settlement on Earlier Last Call

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Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP
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A settlement was reached at the Athens “last call” lawsuit hearing this morning. A new ordinance moving last call to 11:30 pm has been agreed to along with a few other additional terms.

As part of the settlement, all penalties and interest on excise taxes are being waived to offer relief for the bars and restaurants, as well as lowered rates for alcohol licenses remaining in effect through 2021 and 2022. The original mask ordinance will remain in place for patrons who are not seated.

District 3 Commissioner, Melissa Link spoke with us after the hearing.

“It’s better than nothing, we’ve got to do something,” Link said. “We’ve got massive spread among the very demographic that frequents these bars, and there’s now 37 people under the age of 30 who have died of COVID in the state of Georgia.”

Jarrod Miller, chief operating officer of Moonshine, On the Rocks and 1785 Bar and Grill also shared his opinion on the settlement.

“The hallmark of a good compromise is no one leaves happy,” according to Miller “I think that’s kind of how both sides, the bars and the city are feeling. We’re losing our main hours of operation, already within working within a 35% capacity, at a restriction. So it’s a double whammy for us because it’s not like we can pack the place out before.”

The bars must be cleared by midnight.

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