Biloxi operators: Bar rule clarification good, rule itself bad

Biloxi operators: Bar rule clarification good, rule itself bad

BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Bars and restaurants in Biloxi are now facing a new executive order by Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich that closes a loophole in the statewide order that prohibits the sale of alcohol past 11 p.m.

While some operators are OK with the clarification, especially if it stops the rule-breaking, they are still upset with the rule itself.

Angelina Politi is clear about what she thinks.

“It’s just hard, you know,” she said with a sigh. “It’s really killing business.”

Politi, the manager of the Fillin’ Station in downtown Biloxi, said the biggest part of her business is with late-night, service industry customers. Now, soon after glasses have to be put down, she has to close the doors.

“We’re closing by 11:30 p.m. to midnight,” she said. “So, that’s a whole three or four hours we’re actually having our prime time that we’re totally missing out on.”

What makes it worse is that the casinos aren’t included.

Operators aren’t the only ones who have an issue with that. Some loyal customers do as well.

“It’s not fair to small businesses that they can’t continue their sales and make their money while casinos can and takes away their business,” said Biloxi resident Johnna Landrum.

In fact, that’s what Politi said caused some businesses to create a workaround.

“You can go to the casino and get your alcohol served to you for free,” she said. “So, they figured the loophole of, ‘Let’s sell wristbands and tickets.’ "

That meant bars weren’t technically selling alcohol past 11 p.m.

Gilich’s new order clarifies the directive by including the words “serve or distribute.”

Cornelius Nicholson, the manager at Mugshots, said he supports the statewide mandate.

“I’m actually OK with it,” he said. “I feel like it’s going to slow down the spread and is going to benefit a lot of citizens for us to not have alcohol past 11 o’clock.”

As far as the rule-breaking, he’s not tattling.

“I don’t know,” Nicholson said. “I haven’t personally seen anyone serving alcohol past 11 o’clock. I know that we are very strict on it. We have our last call around 10:55, just be sure.”

The executive order remains in effect until Aug. 17 unless amended.

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