(WTVD) RALEIGH, N.C. The new social zone of the city was teeming with activity on Monday night in downtown Raleigh.

The downtown area has been designated as a place where people can stroll the streets while sipping beer, wine, or cocktails. Alcohol obtained at a participating bar or restaurant inside the new social district may be taken outside that establishment. The Sip N’ Stroll programme seeks to revitalise areas like Fayetteville Street, which have struggled since the pandemic and protests, by increasing foot traffic and attracting new businesses.

The changes have business owners enthused. Nearly 70 bars and restaurants have so far signed up for the scheme, while others are awaiting the official launch. Currently, Will Gibbs, a co-owner of the retro-themed nightclub Zenith Raleigh, chose not to participate in the initiative.

Gibbs explained, “We’re just being a little bit cautious, cautiously optimistic.

Gibbs expressed his concern over safety and law enforcement given the Raleigh Police Department’s staffing issues. Additionally, he raised the concerns of litter and responsibility for the consumers who are drinking.

“This is completely novel. As a result, there are many inquiries regarding our liability. What is our duty, and do you know where those boundaries are for ourselves, the city, and the customers? “asked he.

According to Jennifer Martin, executive director of Shop Local Raleigh, the new social district is not a universal remedy for the problems downtown.

Martin stated, “We’re not going to permit the social district or Brewgaloo Craft Beer Festival for the Christmas parade, and we also aren’t going to participate in the social district.”

Martin remarked that for large events held in the social sector, logistics can be an issue. Every beverage provided by a participating business must include the name of the establishment, the date, and the hour it was served.

“Over 50,000 individuals are being served, some of them are ordering multiple drinks. Thus, the capacity to distribute hundreds of thousands of stickers in a short period of time. Simply put, it’s not doable. Additionally, you must have a stronger security presence on the premises “added Martin.

The district’s limits start at Morgan Street in front of the State Capitol in the north and extend all the way to the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in the south. From McDowell Street to Blount Street, it travels from west to east. From 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, the social district will be open.

In order to reduce litter, the city has also placed 40 recycle bins across the neighbourhood.