Legal Edge: What are the laws around social districts?

Legal Edge

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – This summer, certain Michigan cities might start to feel a bit like New Orleans since our state approved “social districts.”

These districts allow people to buy alcoholic beverages at certain bars and restaurants, and then drink them while walking down the street or socializing in public areas.

Some of the laws surrounding these social districts may be confusing, so local attorney Bryan Waldman has some tips on how to protect yourself in these districts.

As bars and restaurants suffered during the pandemic, the legislature decided that they were going to make some revisions to the Michigan liquor control act to try and make up for some of the lost revenue.

So how do social districts work?

Social districts are set up by the city government.

If your business is a liquor license holder and you’re in a social district, you can apply to the liquor control commission for a special license that lets you participate in that social district to sell alcohol, to be taken out into these common areas,” said Waldman.

Drinks sold in social districts can’t be in glass containers and must be less than 16 ounces. Customers can drink their beverage in the social district, but they can’t take it out of the area or into another establishment

The city must clearly mark where the districts begin and end.

City ordinances may still apply in certain areas, so make sure to read up on your city’s rules before cracking open a cold one in the street.

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