Downtown ordinance expected to affect bars on the Square financially

Posted on Sep 24 2018 - 5:50am by Grace Marion

Local bar and venue owners will be affected by the cost of complying with the new downtown ordinance by installing security cameras and using ID scanners — but some owners are unsure of exactly how much it will cost.

Oxford Police Department closes Jackson Avenue in front of Boure on Friday. The road will now be closed every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 8:00 pm to 1:00 am. Photo by Christian Johnson

“We still don’t have an exact figure on how much security measures will cost us, but it will be in the thousands,” said Bradley Bishop, owner of the The Lyric Oxford, a concert venue on Van Buren Avenue.

Some bars on the Square, such as Funkys, already have cameras.

“I’ve had those in place just for liability purposes. If something ever happened, I’d say that I’m protected,” said Lee Harris, owner of Funkys on Jackson Avenue East.

The ordinance will require cameras on the inside and outside of all venues that serve alcohol.

As for the other security measures, Harris said he has been too busy to look into them.

“I haven’t even looked into it yet,” Harris said. “We’ve been so busy with these past few home games that I hadn’t looked what the cost (will be).”

Despite having cameras already, Funkys will still have to pay the necessary cost for ID scanners.

“I know it’s gonna cost something,” Harris said. “My goal is to find something that’s not too expensive that I can operate … (in a way that) won’t really affect my bottom line.”

According to Oxford Alarm, a single security camera might cost anywhere from $120 to $900, depending on the quality of the camera.

The Daily Mississippian previously reported that Alderman Rick Addy said that six to eight cameras would cost between $350 and $1000. By Oxford Alarm’s price estimate, six cameras would total a minimum of $720 and a maximum of $5,400.

Some venue owners don’t see the new ordinance regulations as something that will affect business.

“I don’t think it will factor into … booking artists, and (I) don’t really anticipate losing business as a result of the law,” Bishop said.

Funkys doesn’t plan on changing its procedure of verifying patrons’ ages under the new ordinance.

“We already check IDs really hard, so I don’t know that that’s going to have any effect on how I operate my front door,” Harris said.

Regardless of the potential complications, venues on the Square plan to comply with the ordinance rather than facing legal repercussions.

“It is city law, and we plan to fully comply with the new ordinance,” Bishop said. “As far as the section of (the) ordinance that deals specifically with The Lyric, we will work with OPD to let them know when we are having events.”

The owner of Proud Larry’s declined to comment, and several other venues on the Square could not be reached for comment.