Tuscaloosa city attorney warns businesses about overcrowding during football season

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 5:20 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - A bombshell of a threat from the city of Tuscaloosa to bars and other businesses. The city attorney issued a warning recently for those businesses to crack down on overcrowding issues now that football season is here.

City Attorney Scott Holmes said in the letter distributed September 16 that Tuscaloosa police have already had to deal with multiple businesses exceeding their occupancy limit and we’re only two weeks into the football season. Holmes didn’t say which businesses had violated the code.

Innisfree owner Tripp Rogers was astounded by the warning from city attorney.

“It kinda came out of the blue last week and we didn’t anticipate anything like that happening,” said Innisfree owner Tripp Rogers.

In the letter warning businesses there would a zero-tolerance policy for overcrowding, Holmes goes on to say: “If a business is determined to have more people than its permitted occupancy limit, the business will be immediately closed for 24 hours.” The notice continued to say; “Tuscaloosa police will begin arresting business owners, managers or staff deemed to be responsible for the overcrowding.”

“I don’t know if it’s fair or not, but it sounds like an extreme measure,” said Rogers.

Rogers says his capacity is 325 and is constantly on guard to make sure his bar occupancy rate doesn’t exceed that number.

“We have security that work the doors and every establishment has people counters,” said Rogers.

Tuscaloosa City Council President Kip Tyner supports Scott Holmes’ letter, calling it a safety issue.

“It would be a significant loss of revenue for the business. We want everybody to make lots of money and have a good time. The more they make, the more the city makes, but safety first,” said Tyner.

WBRC reached out for a comment from the city attorney, but we were told Holmes was not doing interviews on the matter.

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