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ATHENS, Ala. – A new addition to downtown Athens is opening Friday just in time for a popular downtown event.

According to a news release, the Square Arts & Entertainment District will open June 19, 2020, at 5 p.m. The district will allow patrons to exit a restaurant with an alcoholic beverage.

A few rules that must be followed include the beverage must be in a blue cup designated for the purpose, no more than two containers may be taken outside an establishment by any one person at a time, a beverage from one licensed establishment cannot be taken into another licensed establishment, and no alcoholic beverages brought from outside the district will be allowed.

The Square Arts & Entertainment District
Photo: Athens Main Street

The district will extend for approximately one block on each side of the Limestone County Courthouse.

Athens Main Street Executive Director Tere Richardson said, “The district will be delineated by sidewalk graphics identifying the beginning and ending of the district.”

The opening of the entertainment district will coincide with Fridays After Five and the Summer Concert Series. Shops will stay open late with in-store specials, food trucks, and a free outdoor concert featuring Tomcat and Bark the Dawg from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m, sponsored by the Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association.

The Athens City Council voted unanimously at the June 8 City Council meeting to designate a portion of downtown Athens as an entertainment district.

City of Athens Attorney Shane Black said, “Designating the area as an entertainment district will allow patrons who purchase alcohol from one of the licensed sellers on The Square to take the beverage outside the seller’s building and walk around with it, provided they stay within the district.”

Richardson concluded, “Our restaurant and shop owners are excited for the opening of the district. Feedback from the public has been extremely positive and the opening much anticipated. We appreciate the Mayor and City Council for continuing to support steps toward improving the economic vitality of Downtown Athens.”