WEST MICHIGAN — The Grand Rapids Chamber has announced the city’s social districts will be a permanent mainstay.
Social districts were created at the beginning of the pandemic to allow public consumption of alcohol in designated areas.
We’re told Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a pair of bills this month that permit local governments in the state to establish social districts.
“Social districts are here to stay, which means the options for Grand Rapids diners will forever be expanded,” says Chamber President & CEO Rick Baker. “They will be able to enjoy their beverages as they experience all the city has to offer and we are excited for what this means as we continue to recover from the pandemic.”
The Chamber says residents can look forward to visiting a number of social districts this St. Patrick’s Day, including Creston Brewery and Uccello’s.
We’re also told The Mitten Brewing Co.’s social district will soon be reactivated.
We saw them a lot during the pandemic, and Holland is expanding its capabilities regarding social districts.
The city now allows the 12 participating businesses to sell drinks for consumption during major downtown events.
Before Wednesday, they had to shut down sales to anyone wanting to have a drink on the go during big events.
"It depends on the day, during peak summer months, and especially when it's a beautiful weather outside, we definitely see a bump. And it does help as far as percentage of sales, about 10% of our bar sales on a busy summer," Hops at 84 East General Manager Stephen Rich told FOX 17.
The one time when businesses can't sell drinks are during parades.
Ward 5 council member Scott Corbin was the only vote against the expansion.
"So, that worries me a bit is the number of people who are going to be downtown with children and families. We talk about the people who drink, but we don't talk about the people who don't drink and the families who don't participate in those things. I don't want to deter people from going to downtown who have traditionally been there," Corbin said.