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Aldermen set to vote on alcohol ordinance

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Ruston’s Board of Aldermen is set to vote Monday on changes in the city’s alcohol ordinance that, if approved, would allow restaurants and bars to stay open until 2 a.m.

Monday’s meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall and is open to the public.

In addition to the alcohol revisions, aldermen will also vote on a pair of professional work agreements dealing with projects that are part of the Moving Ruston Forward initiative, consider an ordinance allowing coffee roasting businesses in Ruston and decide whether to enact a debt policy for the city.

Residents get their say on the possible alcohol ordinance revamp during a public hearing that will be held immediately before the board votes.

In addition to the new closing time, the proposed revisions would also:

• Allow bars and restaurants with approved outdoor dining areas to serve alcohol to patrons seated in those areas and who have also purchased food from the menu.

• Allow bars and restaurants to stop offering a full menu at 10 p.m. and offer appetizers only from then until closing time. The ordinance already requires food to be purchased with a drink.
Mayor Ronny Walker said restaurants requested the city consider the 2 a.m. closing time. They must now close at midnight.

“When you have a group of businesses asking for extending hours, I think you ought to look at it,” Walker said.

He said the change would bring Ruston in line with most college communities and would help with business recruitment.

But, even if the new time is approved, restaurants could still close earlier.

“Just because we’re allowing two o’clock closing, it’s not required. This is a choice,” Walker said.

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