Open container proposal getting more buzz as it passes through Senate

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CLEVELAND- East 4th Street in downtown Cleveland is known for its bars and restaurants, and soon, it could be known for something else:  open containers.

"We have to be careful with how we police it, the security, and we just all have to work together to make it a fun event for everybody that's here on East 4th street," said Rick Cassara, manager at Pickwick and Frolic.

He's been keeping an eye on Senate Bill 116. The proposal, if passed, would let patrons drink on public streets.

It may sound pretty relaxed, but it's not. There are all kinds of requirements and restrictions. For example, only cities with more than 35,000 residents could offer open-refreshment areas. Anything less would have to be approved through a state committee.

"I think that would be a good idea. It would be really fun. It's already a walking street, so a lot of people there are outside. So it's always nice to be able to get out and move around when you're going out," said Jessica Whale.

Critics think the city would have trouble regulating open containers and fear it could lead to trouble.

Senate Bill 116 just passed through the Senate and now heads over to the House of Representatives for review. It's possible some changes could be made there.

Even if this bill does become law, that doesn't necessarily mean East 4th would become an outdoor refreshment area. That decision would ultimately be in the hands of city council.

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