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Why did Atlanta ban happy hour?

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ATLANTA – The unofficial beginning of summer is approaching, and at least one man is wondering why he can’t celebrate the occasion with a “happy hour” drink.

Viewer Aaron Sentell emailed 11Alive’s Why Guy wondering about the area’s ban on happy hour. Sentell started a Reddit post to spread awareness of the ban.

Why Guy Jerry Carnes looked through Atlanta City Council records dating back to 1985, when there was a heightened awareness about the issue of drunk driving. Organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving were pushing hard for stricter laws concerning alcohol sales.

In April of 1985, Atlanta’s city council banned “free drinks” “reduced price drinks” and “all you can drink” deals. In the ordinance, councilmembers say that reduced price promotions “may increase DUI accidents.”

Nearly 20 years later, councilmembers had to re-word the ordinance. The city’s municipal court said it failed to let bar owners know exactly when they could change their drink prices.

In 2004, the council gave it another shot and passed a law that says businesses have to sell a drink for same price for an entire week. They can’t reduce the price for an hour or two.

Others areas of metro Atlanta have also banned happy hour.

Atlanta city councilmembers tell us there are no plans to revisit the issue. Atlanta attorney Mike Sard told our Why Guy that he recently served on a council advisory group where no one was interested in relaxing happy hour restrictions.

While that might not make you happy, at least you know why.

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