Retailers in Alpharetta are well on their way to being able to deliver alcoholic beverages to patrons who are reluctant to go out because of the coronavirus pandemic.

City council approved the first reading of an ordinance that will allow Alpharetta to adopt parts of a new statewide law that permits licensed alcohol retailers to take orders for the sale of alcohol and deliver it within or outside the city limits.

House Bill 879, which Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law Aug. 3, lets restaurants, supermarkets and liquor stores make home deliveries of beer, wine and distilled spirits in Georgia in cities that choose to take part. According to the ordinance, retailers must follow the house bill and any regulations issued by the Georgia Department of Revenue.

The new ordinance, which will have a second reading at a later date, also includes two other changes to the city’s rules on alcohol with regards to complimentary service of adult beverages at certain businesses and distance requirements for historic properties.

At a Sept. 8 city council meeting, Community Development Director Kathi Cook said businesses such as beauty salons, spas, bridal shops and art galleries already offer complimentary drinks to customers, and the new ordinance will set guidelines for the practice.

Businesses will have to apply for an annual license with a fee of $300 and submit to criminal background checks. Pours of wine will be limited to 6 oz. and pours of beer will be limited to 8 oz. per person. The permit will also allow patrons to bring in one bottle of wine to an establishment for events like paint-and-sips.

The third aspect of the ordinance will allow an establishment that has been designated as a contributing historical building to apply for distance requirement variances as long as requirements are met.

Councilmen Ben Burnett and John Hipes voted against the ordinance—making the vote 5-2—saying the ordinance should be split into three separate items to be voted on independently.

“It looks like there are three separate items … Besides mentioning the word ‘alcohol,’ I don’t see what one has to do with the other,” Burnett said at the city council meeting.

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