SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Mayor Van Johnson went out of his way to say City Market’s self-imposed age restriction on private property is not a curfew.
He wants to make sure people are clear about what has been put into place, to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
“We do not have a curfew, so I think we have to make sure people are very clear about that distinction. When they say curfew, this is not a curfew, this is essentially them saying people under 21 will not be allowed on their property and the property leased from the city after, I think its 11 o’clock,” Mayor Van Johnson explained.
After a recent string of gun violence downtown, City Market businesses have come together to impose an age restriction on the property they lease from the city.
According to Johnson, even though the city had nothing to do with the move, he notes that City Market businesses have started to stagger when they’re doing last call, while the city has changed late night traffic patterns in the area to ensure that it’s easier for people to leave once they’re ready.
“They don’t like having those type of instances occur, and I think they dealt with low hanging fruit,” Johnson said. “The fact is that if you’re under 21 you may not need to be down there anyway, you can’t drink so what’s the purpose? So I applaud them for being proactive and doing what they could do.”
The idea of a city-wide business curfew to limit the potential for violent crime has yet to be acted on. While there’s no sign that’s coming anytime soon, Johnson has said it would be a last resort move.
“We can control the density of some of our more popular spaces, we can control when people serve alcohol, those are the things we can control and so, our message to our partners is ‘don’t let us control those things that we can control’, everybody loses,” the Mayor said.
On top of the self-imposed age restriction, City Market businesses have also banned the ability to carry a firearm while in the area.
Johnson says it will be up to those businesses to enforce that policy.