The Mobile Police Department will more strictly enforce the conditions allowing for the outside consumption of alcohol downtown.
In a statement released last week, the MPD said it will enforce the city’s open container ordinance more strictly, effective immediately. According to the ordinance, it is unlawful to possess, drink or attempt to drink any alcoholic beverage in a can, bottle or glass container on the streets, sidewalks, rights of way and parking lots.
An alcoholic beverage can be removed from a downtown licensed establishment only if it is in a paper or plastic cup with a commercially printed name and/or logo of a designated licensee. A paper or plastic cup with the “LODA” logo obtained from Downtown Mobile Alliance is also an approved container for alcoholic beverages. The size of any approved alcoholic beverage container cannot exceed 16 fluid ounces. Police will issue citations to individuals who don’t comply with the open container law.
Alliance spokeswoman Carol Hunter said they sell the “LODA” cups by the case to downtown restaurants and bars. In addition, some bars have their own logos printed on small plastic cups to allow patrons to take a drink to go.
The ordinance also designates two areas of downtown where open containers are conditionally allowed. Mobile has two entertainment districts along Dauphin Street separated by a three-block gap starting near Cathedral Square. One stretches from Water Street to Franklin Street and the other extends from Cedar Street to Bayou Street. The strict enforcement includes areas not designated as entertainment districts, MPD spokeswoman Charlette Solis wrote in an email message.
Hunter said while the three-block gap on Dauphin from Franklin to Cedar is technically outside of the entertainment districts, enforcement of the ordinance there had been light in the past to allow visitors to travel between establishments in the separate districts. Hunter said she hoped the light enforcement along the three-block gap could continue.
“Are they going to write citations if you’re walking from Saisho to The Haberdasher? Probably not,” she said. “They haven’t in the past.”
Hunter said the purpose of the ordinance passed in March 2013 was to allow people to leave establishments and walk outside with a drink in hand if they wish.