Hattiesburg to allow to-go cups downtown

Hattiesburg to allow to-go cups downtown
To-Go Cup Ordinance Boundary. Source: City of Hattiesburg.

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - You will soon be able to get a beer, wine or mixed drink to go when dining or enjoying downtown Hattiesburg .

Council approved the "To-Go Cup" Ordinance Tuesday evening.  The ordinance allows "the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages, beer or light wine in certain places" with exceptions for specials events in a boundary approved by the city.

According to the ordinance, people must have the beverage in a paper, plastic or Styrofoam cup, can or non-glass item.  Approved businesses must place cans specifically for that trash outside their establishment.

In 2016, House Bill 1223 was signed into law, which authorized certain municipalities in the state to establish recreation and leisure districts.  Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker, a representative at the time, worked to expand the area for cities in which it applied.  When originally introduced, the bill only included the Mississippi coast.

"It's something special to see that something you had a role in as a legislator come into fruition as mayor," said Barker.  "That's the role of any representative, though, to find ways to better their city and give local governments authority and the option to do creative things like this."

The ordinance was approved with a 4-1 vote, with Deborah Delgado, Ward 2, voting against the ordinance.  She discussed concerns over where the boundary was and why certain places were not included.

The Historic Hattiesburg Downtown Association said the boundary is a "test" area, with hopes to expand moving forward.

The ordinance will go into effect in 30 days, on Thursday, September 21st.