New 'to-go cup' law could allow open containers in Hattiesburg

New 'to-go cup' law could allow open containers in Hattiesburg

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - There is a new law that allows people to carry alcohol in open containers. Gov Phil Bryant signed the so-called "to-go-cup bill" on Thursday.

To get open container privileges, the city will have to create recreational districts where people can carry their drinks outside of businesses and bars. One location the city is considering making a recreational district is downtown Hattiesburg.

Currently, the city has to approve events that want open container beverages served like "Hub Fest" or "Live after Five" several months in advance.

Andrea Saffle, executive director of the downtown association. said the to-go cup law will make it easier for businesses to host more events.

"It streamlines the process for those businesses and organizations that want to create events which is what we want to make downtown be," Saffle said. "We want it to be a place where people come and there is always activates going on."

Business owners like Tom White with Bianchi's Pizzeria said this would be great for restaurants in downtown Hattiesburg.

"It encourages foot traffic, which is what we are kind of about in the downtown atmosphere," White said.  "We have two new restaurants and  businesses opening so I encourage people to walk between places, which is great for business."

However, Saffle said she has heard some negative feedback from people in the area

"I got a couple of people's feedback saying 'no we don't want (that), we're not creating Bourbon Street', and that's not at all what this legislation would do," Saffle said.

Overall, Saffle said she is excited about the law and thinks it will bring more people to Downtown Hattiesburg.

The city council has not made any decisions yet, but will discuss more in the future.