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Saugatuck social districts expands to year-round

Downtown Saugatuck. (May 28, 2021)

SAUGATUCK, Mich. (WOOD) — After getting positive feedback on its pilot program, Saugatuck city leaders voted Monday to continue the city’s social districts year-round.

The 5-1 decision means customers will still be allowed to walk around with alcoholic beverages that were bought within the designated Downtown Saugatuck Commons Area. The beverages must be in marked cups and visitors are not allowed to bring in their own drinks.

Stores with a “City of Saugatuck Social District” decal in the window will allow guests to bring their drinks inside. The city is asking that guests be respectful of “stores that do not wish to have social district beverages brought into their business.”

The commons area will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The pilot program began last year and ran from Memorial Day through Labor Day. It allowed restaurants to serve alcoholic drinks during COVID-19 when inside seating was restricted. Restaurants had to apply to the Liquor Control Commission before they could serve to customers in the common areas.

City Manager Ryan Heise says the social districts have been a huge economic success for Saugatuck.

“The most positive attribute that the City hears about is the ability for restaurant patrons to grab a cocktail while waiting to be seated. The City has also started to create Social District spaces with outdoor games to give folks a destination,” Heise wrote in an email to News 8.

For more information about the social district, click here.