Ocean Springs preparing to implement 'to-go cup' bill

Ocean Springs preparing to implement 'to-go cup' bill

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Now that Gov. Phil Bryant has signed the "to-go cup" bill, patrons will soon be able to leave a restaurant or bar with an alcoholic drink in hand in some areas of Mississippi. 
In Ocean Springs, the ground work is being laid for to-go cups to become a regular sight. Inside the Flying Irishmen on Government Street, Jay Balius always has an eye on the door to make sure people don't leave with their drinks.

If they do, he faces stiff fines.

"There's a lot of 'Why, why can't I take it,'" said Balius. "We don't even let them leave the patio with any drink and there's always the 'Why'. It's against the law for us to let them go like that, and it comes back on us."

The bill will only apply to cities within downtown entertainment districts. Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran is moving full steam ahead with plans that will result in to-go cups in her city.

Moran is in the process of creating an open container zone, which the Board of Aldermen has to approve.

"We will designate a certain area, boundary, for our main downtown that includes our restaurants and launches, festivals and nightlife," said Moran. "We will then submit that and go ahead and follow the process of the bill."

The new law not only applies to restaurants and bars, but also to events like the Ocean Springs Food and Wine Festival, where people like the idea of not having to finish or pour out their drinks before going outside the gates.

"The ability to be able to create a community environment where people can go and have cocktails and just kind of come and go as you please is really big for tourism and big for business too," said Mississippi resident Majure Markow.

Balius thinks it's a good idea to stock up on to-go cups before the bill can become law on July 1.

Mayor Moran and other Ocean Springs city leaders have a meeting with state legislators planned for Friday morning to talk about the specific details of how to put the to-go cup bill in place.

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