Oxford businesses oppose Downtown safety proposal

Updated: Aug. 21, 2018 at 7:24 AM CDT
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OXFORD, MS (WMC) - The Oxford Board of Aldermen is expected to vote Tuesday on a controversial alcohol proposal that some business owners call unnecessary and restrictive.

The proposed ordinance would create a downtown entertainment district surrounding the Square in Oxford and include strict safety rules that businesses would have to follow.

It forces businesses that serve alcohol to install surveillance cameras at the entrances, outside bathrooms, and in open common areas--any room the public is allowed to go.

City leaders said the plan is about keeping restaurants, bars and other businesses downtown safe.

Business owners argue it violates people's First Amendment rights and their right to privacy.

The cameras would be inspected by the police chief to make sure they're working.

The businesses would also have to install ID scanners that police said will prevent underage drinking.

They'd also have to create a detailed safety plan so employees know how to deal with evacuations, medical emergencies, or other mishaps.

The Lyric Oxford has been perhaps the most outspoken business against the proposal. They said they feel like they're being targeted and said city leaders should have let citizens decide how to best address safety and underage drinking instead of coming up with this proposal.

While the proposal has advance despite their objections, The Lyric still encourages people to show up to the meeting Tuesday night at 5.

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