BIRMINGHAM CITY COUNCIL EXTENDS FACE COVERING ORDINANCE, SETS PUBLIC HEARING DATE FOR AVONDALE ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT DESIGNATION
PRESS RELEASE Tuesday, June 9, 2020
Contact: Kim Garner
The Birmingham City Council voted to extend the city’s face covering ordinance until July 3, marking the fourth extension of the ordinance that was originally passed in April.
In May, the Council voted to reduce the fines and eliminate the possibility of arrest to anyone not complying with the order — $25 fine for the first offense, $100 for the second, and $250 for the third offense.
“Health officials have been consistent in their stance that wearing a face covering in public can drastically reduce the spread of this virus,” Councilor Steven Hoyt said. “The goal of this ordinance is not to be punitive. It’s about raising awareness and educating the people. The more people we have wearing masks or face coverings, the sooner we can flatten the curve and start to turn the corner on this health crisis.”
The Council also voted to set a public hearing for Tuesday, June 23 to consider approving the designation and operation of the Avondale Entertainment District.
That public hearing will take place during the regularly scheduled meeting time at 9:30 a.m. at City Hall.
The designation would be the fourth of its kind in Birmingham with Uptown being approved in 2015, Pepper Place in 2018 and Five Points South in 2019. The boundaries of the entertainment district allow for open containers of alcohol to be carried outside of establishments, and in turn increase foot traffic in areas that are developed for music, restaurants and bars.
State law allows Class 1 municipalities in Alabama to have as many as five entertainment districts, leaving Birmingham with two additional districts available for the designation.
Council President William Parker said it’s crucial that the public have input into this pending designation while also adhering to the Jefferson County Department of Health’s social distancing guidelines, while also underlining the importance of extending the city’s face covering ordinance.
“We want everyone’s voice to be heard. Not just on this issue, but on all the decisions we make,” President Parker said. “We’re going to be working through how that looks in the coming weeks. The Birmingham City Council is committed to having our decision making process be inclusive and transparent, especially during this public health crisis that has caused all cities to approach their meetings a little differently. Extending the face covering ordinance is a big part of that because while we want to hear from as many people as possible, we want to do so in a way that keeps everyone safe.”
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