City leaders extend downtown open intoxicant ordinance
By Taylor Hale
STEVENS POINT – City leaders approved an ordinance extending the relaxation of open intoxicant laws in downtown Stevens Point, during an Oct. 19 common council meeting.
The extended ordinance allows the public to enjoy alcoholic drinks within a section of the city’s downtown area seven days a week, noon – 9 p.m.
A 10-1 vote adopted the motion, with Alder Cindy Nebel voting against the extension.
Two amendments were made during the meeting to change the document’s original language to reflect new ordinance hours and map boundaries.
Mayor Mike Wiza noted that the city had seen no issues since adopting the first form of the relaxed intoxicant laws earlier this summer to help downtown businesses maintain patrons while reducing their indoor seating due to COVID-19.
Alder Mykeerah Zarazua added that the outdoor seating options offer locals a chance to “control” their enjoyment during the pandemic and offer an alternative to going inside a bar or restaurant.
“COVID is a very serious thing, and we know that, and I feel this is a part of that compromise. People are going to bars, where we are providing them an opportunity for people to be outside. We are encouraging people to be outside,” Zarazua said.
The original ordinance saw relaxed open intoxicant laws on Wednesdays- Fridays, noon- 9 p.m., ending Oct. 16. Alders noted that changing the ordinance to seven days a week could help set a more understandable standard for guests in the downtown area.
Wiza noted that the move could be terminated at any time via a special council meeting, if any future issues arise.
The extended ordinance will be in place until March 2021.