Placeholder Image Alcoholic drinks served as an aperitivo
photo credit: Shutterstock

Healdsburg could soon join the city of Sonoma in allowing public drinking within the city's plaza.

The city's Community Services Director Mark Themig said Healdsburg's new ordinance would continue relaxed pandemic era regulations.

"The allowance originated when the State's ABC relaxed the rules related to to-go containers from bars and restaurants," Themig said.

The relaxed rules from the State ABC - Alcohol Beverage Control - allowed Healdsburg to allow individuals to consume alcohol at not only the city plaza and west plaza, Themig said, but at city approved parklets too.

"There haven't been really any issues with the parklets, and so there really wasn't a concern with extending that allowance moving forward," Themig said.

Themig said the new rules are pretty straightforward.

"Theoretically, someone could go to Safeway or Oakville Grocery, buy a bottle of wine or a glass of beer, or a can of beer, and then go to the plaza and consume that with their picnic or whatever other...activity they're doing," Themig said.

The relaxed rules have helped make the plaza a more inviting space.

"It's been really interesting to watch the plaza kind of transition to be more of not just a place where people sit on the benches, but they bring their picnic blankets and they bring, you know, their families or their friends, and kind of create more of like a community environment versus just sitting on the benches to yourself," Themig said.

Any fears over the relaxed rules, Themig said, have yet to materialize so far.

"Our observations and engagement with people, I think it's been a positive evolution," Themig said. "People have been responsible and there haven't been any significant issues."

A second reading and full adoption of Healdsburg's new public drinking ordinance is set for the March 6th city council meeting.

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