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Covington approves open container resolution for downtown on Small Business Saturday

COVINGTON, Ga. — Small Business Saturday will look a little different around the Square this year.

The Covington City Council approved a resolution Monday night to allow shoppers to carry alcoholic beverages as they shop around the Covington Square on Nov. 28 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

"There would be no road closures, no outside events, it is just that you can go into a participating restaurant, buy a beverage in a cup and get a wristband, and you can take that cup with you as you shop," Community Development Director Trey Sanders said. 

He said alcoholic beverages would not be allowed in the park on the Square. There will also be no road closures.

Sanders said the idea was sparked among merchants in an effort to drive consumers to spend their money locally and increase foot traffic downtown.

“That Saturday is a big opportunity for folks in and around our Square to do business,” Sanders said. “So we were talking about ways to possibly enhance that day for them, and one of the things that they mentioned was having an open container, special event day.

“It’s something that the merchants think may help keep people sticking around a little bit more, and clearly the restaurants would appreciate the opportunity to sell something that could be carried in the district there,” he said.

Small Business Saturday is a nationwide initiative that began in 2010 to push people toward shopping locally for the holidays.

When questioned by Covington Mayor Steve Horton, Sanders clarified that not all restaurants were required to participate. If a restaurant would like to participate, it would need to purchase specialized cups and wristbands from the city.

Councilman Kenneth Morgan asked if there were plans for an increased police presence for the day. Covington Police Chief Stacey Cotton said there would be more officers on patrol and would be stopping through the area more than usual.

After no further discussion, the council approved the resolution 5-1; Councilwoman Hawnethia Williams opposed.