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May 24, 2015

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Joe Downtown: If you’re drinking downtown, be sure you bought it there

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Sam Morris

A man drinks beer from a plastic cowboy boot on Fremont Street Saturday, June 30, 2012.

Downtown’s popularity is growing as a place to see, be seen and party.

That means more business but also some headaches.

Metro Police are noticing people bringing their own alcohol to Fremont Street, setting up camp and drinking outside as the night rolls on.

It isn’t illegal to have open containers downtown, notes Officer Charles Stuart, who will talk about the issue to local media Friday. But it is illegal, he said, if the alcohol is not purchased from a downtown establishment.

How is such a law enforced?

"We are not looking to hammer people. We aren’t looking to ticket people. I have asked people where they got the drink from, then tell them they can’t have it out here if you just bring it down here," Stuart said.

"We have tourists come up all the time and ask us what the law is. We don’t ticket them, because they have the drink in their hand. I explain it to them. And if I see someone with a drink I’ll ask them where they purchased it.”

Stuart and others from Metro's Downtown Area Command plan a news conference downtown Friday night to help get the word out.

The operator of one Fremont Street establishment told the Sun that some downtown bars are considering not allowing anyone to carry drinks from the bar to the street.

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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