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News Blog: Athens-Clarke County settles mask lawsuit

The Mayor and Commission held a Special Called Session on Friday, August 14 at 8:15 a.m. to approve a settlement with plaintiffs related to the recent mask ordinance requirement for public and commercial spaces and an ordinance changing the hours of alcohol sales and closing times for retail by the drink licensees. With the support of Western Judicial Circuit Superior Court Chief Judge Eric Norris, the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government (ACCGov) and plaintiffs negotiated this settlement. 

The Athens-Clarke County mask ordinance requiring masks in public places and commercial establishments will remain in place in full force as adopted on August 4, 2020. 

Last call for by the drink retail establishments will be moved from 2:00 a.m. until 11:30 p.m., while bars must be cleared by midnight. The ordinance that changes hours for by the drink retail service will remain in effect until five days after the statewide judicial emergency ends.

A fifth order extending the statewide judicial emergency was issued by Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Melton on August 11 and currently is in place until September 10. The statewide judicial emergency has been in place since March and may be extended.

To assist bars in dealing with their projected loss of revenue resulting from the early closing, ACCGov will maintain reduced alcohol license fees for bars for 2021 and 2022 and will also make certain concessions on penalties and interest for excise taxes for bars.

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