All Yazoo City businesses will soon be required to stop serving and allowing the consumption of alcohol at midnight seven days a week.
Business will also have to be closed with everyone off the premises by 1 a.m.
The Mayor and Board of Aldermen voted 4-1 to amend the city’s ordinance after another shooting took place in the early morning hours over the weekend.
Mayor Diane Delaware urged the board to approve the requirement that the businesses be vacant by 1 a.m. rather than 2 a.m., which was previously allowed on weekends.
“We’re trying to solve a problem, and the problem is what time people are getting killed and all of these other bad things are happening in our city,” Delaware said. “If we allow them to stay open until 2 a.m. and someone can show up at 1 a.m. and go in, we haven’t really solved anything at all. I want to close the clubs at midnight just like they do in the county.”
Alcohol sales and alcohol consumption must stop at midnight every night of the week.
“That includes the community center, the country club and the event centers; it’s all the same,” said Ward 2 Alderman Dr. Jack Varner.
“At one o’clock you’re going home,” Delaware said.
Delaware used the L.T. Miller Community Center as an example of a place that would be affected by the amended ordinance. Ward 4 Alderman Aubry Brent Jr. said he had not thought of that before.
“That’s where we have our New Year’s party every year, and we’ve never fallen under that rule,” Brent said. “People bring their own libations. I would think that this would just apply to these clubs out here.”
“That’s the issue we’re having,” Delaware said. “I used the community center as an example because I want it to be understood. It would fall under this rule just like any other event center. We’re not being prejudiced here – it includes them all.”
Police Chief Jeff Curtis said he agrees with the change.
“I think it will solve a lot of the problems we’re having,” Curtis said.
Ward 1 Alderman Ron Johnson, who cast the sole vote against the change, said he thinks clubs should be allowed to stay open later.
“Generally folks don’t go up there until nine or ten o’clock,” Johnson said. “You’re cutting into their business. Y’all keep talking about it, and I understand stuff happens at the clubs, but it happens everywhere else.”
Delaware pointed out that nearly all of the recent homicides in Yazoo City took place in establishments where alcohol was served after midnight.
“Next thing you’re gonna want to do is close church,” Johnson said. “Just wait and see. Do what you want.”
The amended ordinance takes effect in 30 days.