Bethel City Council passed stricter alcohol laws on Tuesday, July 23. After some amendments, the regulations received a unanimous vote.
The council added a requirement for liquor stores to employ night-time security guards, and it decided that no customer could buy more than three bottles of hard alcohol per day. Some members were willing to drop that limit to two.
Council member Fritz Charles proposed the three-bottle limit as a compromise, saying that he understood people’s concerns.
"People that I love, whether it be my brothers, sisters, cousins, or uncles, they’re gonna die from alcohol. It’s part of life," Charles said.
Council member Perry Barr didn’t want to compromise. He said that anyone who wanted to buy more than two bottles in a day could have criminal intent.
"You know that they’re taking those three bottles per day, and taking it back to their villages and causing chaos and mayhem," Barr said. "So if you don’t want two bottles per day, you might as well say you don’t care about humanity."
The ordinance also aims to curb public consumption of alcohol. Previous laws required police officers to catch people in the act of drinking in order to make charges. Now, it is illegal to have an open container in public spaces.
The Bethel City Council also banned any form of valid identification other than a state ID at a liquor store. That’s because only state IDs show if a person is on alcohol-restricted status. However, anyone without a state ID is allowed to sign a written statement promising they are not on restricted status.
The alcohol laws that were passed Tuesday also update business hours for liquor stores and simplify fines for alcohol-related offenses.