New City Mandate Increasing Bar Occupancy Goes into Effect

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By WVUA 23 News Reporter Kayla Smith

Lines outside of Tuscaloosa bars may be a little shorter this weekend as the city continues to loosen restrictions placed on local bars.

The city of Tuscaloosa announced earlier this week that the maximum bar occupancy will be raised from 100 to 150 people. The new mandate began Thursday at 5 p.m.

Occupancy limits will be still be capped at 50%, but the change will affect six of the largest bars and taverns in Tuscaloosa.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said the city is comfortable making this change because the number of COVID-19 cases among students has decreased rapidly.

“The reason why we went to 150 though is because, as we look at the long-term numbers of cases and also hospitalizations, they continue to be relatively low in comparison to where we’ve been,” Maddox said.

“In fact, the area we’re within hospitalizations now go back to early June, so we feel like we are in pretty strong shape.”

Maddox said he hopes the gradual reopening of bars will lessen the number of large private gatherings in the city.

“The other thing we’ve seen is an increase in the number of house parties. We are seeing a rising number of these house parties, so the more we can actually open up these more mega bars, because six of the 29 bars have a capacity of 300 or more, maybe the less house parties we’ll have.”

Tuscaloosa Police will continue to enforce the citywide mask mandate.

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