Following a packed audience requesting that event centers be allowed to open, the city council eased up on some of the COVID restrictions placed upon event centers. Event centers can now open with 50 percent capacity and must follow CDC and state health guidelines.
Mayor Diane Delaware was the sole opposing vote in allowing event centers to open. She said she was in opposition because her request to require registered security at the centers was not included in the motion.
Alderman Sir Johnathan Rucker made the motion to allow event centers to open, adding that the city council has be “fair and consistent” with its enforcement of the local COVID restrictions. He has voted in opposition of the restrictions for several months because he said the restrictions are not fairly applied within the community.
“We want to keep everyone safe, but we want to be fair and consistent about it,” Rucker said.
The city council debated about allowing event centers to open for almost 30 minutes. Capacity rate, security requirements and even vaccination proof were among the topics within the discussion.
Delaware stood firm on her belief that registered security be on site at the event centers if they were allowed to operate with a capacity rate. Her stance was not included in the final motion.
According to the city ordinance, “one security officer shall be provided…when 50 or more patrons are present; and two security officers shall be provided…when 150 or more patrons are present; and one additional security officer shall be provided…for each additional 100 patrons.”
The ordinance continues to state that “those persons acting as security personnel must register with the Chief of Police of the Yazoo City Police Department and shall be subject to a background check and must meet the qualifications set forth in Miss. Code 1972, § 67-3-19 or 45-9-101, and obtain a personal liability bond in an amount not less than $10,000.00.”
The security requirement, based on the city ordinance, applies to “clubs, lounges, nightclubs, bars, event centers, and commercial event centers.” However, the requirement does not apply “to private and fraternal organizations such as the American Legion or the Veterans of Foreign Affairs.” The majority of the audience within the recent board meeting requesting to open were members of the American Legion.
Delaware said she was also concerned that allowing event centers to open with a 50 percent capacity rate could apply to certain nightclub operations.
“So, we just opened some clubs,” she said, following the board’s action.
An event center, defined by the city ordinance, is “a facility which may be located on public or private property that primarily functions to provide a facility for any type of social gathering and typically consisting of one or more meeting or multipurpose rooms and/or kitchen and/or outdoor facilities that are available for use by various private groups for such activities as meetings, parties, weddings, receptions and dances.”