City Board members in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, will consider an ordinance permitting public drinking in the city’s downtown area at their next meeting, according to news reports.

Act 812 of 2019 by Sen. Trent Garner (R – El Dorado) and Rep. Sonia Barker (R – Smackover) lets cities create “entertainment districts” where alcohol can be carried and consumed publicly on streets and sidewalks.

These districts can be permanent or temporary, under Act 812.

City officials in Siloam Springs discussed a public drinking ordinance extensively at their May 5 meeting.

The most recent draft of the ordinance would permit public drinking throughout much of downtown Siloam Springs.

City officials have indicated that the ordinance would make it easier for bars and restaurants to offer seating areas outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the ordinance itself actually is much more open-ended than that.

Under the ordinance, people would be able to purchase alcohol to-go in bars or restaurants, and then carry and consume alcohol on sidewalks downtown.

Public drinking would be allowed from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Thursday – Saturday.

Under the current draft of the ordinance, the public drinking district would be temporary and would expire no later than September 26 unless extended by the city board.

As we have said time and again, public drinking is a scourge on the community.

It raises serious concerns about drunk driving and public safety.

Public drinking doesn’t attract new businesses or bolster the economy.

It hurts neighborhoods and families.

That’s why Family Council has put together a free toolkit to help citizens oppose these public drinking districts.

Our toolkit contains talking points, information about problems public drinking has caused in other states, photographs of public drinking districts elsewhere around the country, and other resources you can use to fight public drinking in your community.

Click here to download our free toolkit.

Photo: Brandonrush / CC BY-SA (