Columbia advisory group explores restrictions on drink specials

Columbia is considering a crackdown on drink specials as a way to combat alcohol abuse.

During a meeting earlier this month, the city of Columbia’s Substance Abuse Advisory Commission agreed on details of a proposal for restricting drink specials in the city. The commission is lobbying the Columbia City Council to enact the restrictions along with other changes in alcohol policies and law enforcement.

In July 2015, it proposed the City Council adopt administrative penalties for violations of liquor license standards using a point system. The document the commission submitted addressed the lack of adequate staffing for law enforcement after the state cut the number of liquor control agents from 60 to six in 2010.

Given the lack of response from the Law Department on the point system, the commission decided to move on to drink specials, commission chairwoman Molly Borgmeyer said.

The city’s Downtown Community Improvement District paid the Responsible Hospitality Institute $49,467 in 2015 to study the city’s dining, entertainment and nightlife, District Executive Director Katie Essing said. The study identified several challenges to people’s enjoyment of nightlife, including “incidents of violence, robbery, sexual assault, vandalism, crowd congestion, noise complaints, underage drinking, over-service of patrons, and impairment of both pedestrians and drivers.”

Borgmeyer thinks banning unlimited alcohol for a fixed price and setting the $2 minimum price are the most critical strategies for curbing drinking problems.

Read more: Columbia Missourian

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