The city of Tuscaloosa is ready to take drastic steps to prevent overcrowding in its bars, including closing businesses for 24 hours and arresting staff, city attorney Scott Holmes said in a letter last week.

In a letter dated September 16th, Holmes said just a few weeks into this college football season, the Tuscaloosa Police Department and Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue have "already dealt with multiple businesses exceeding their occupancy limits."

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"We all know that fall is a great time in Tuscaloosa and that the arrival of football fans each weekend means an influx of customers to each of your businesses," Holmes wrote. "However, we also want to remind everyone that exceeding your location's occupancy limits violates City code and puts your patrons in danger."

Holmes said effective immediately, there will be a "zero-tolerance" policy for overcrowding.

"If a business is determined to have more people than its permitted occupancy limit, the business will be immediately closed for a twenty-four-hour period," Holmes said. "The Tuscaloosa Police Department will begin arresting business owners, managers, or staff deemed to be responsible for the overcrowding."

Holmes did not say in the letter what criminal charges staff or bar owners would face after arrest.

"Please make sure your occupancy counts are accurate and remember that your staff members must be included in that count," Holmes wrote. "The city does not want to shut down businesses in our town, but overcrowding poses a serious public safety concern. Please help us keep our city safe."

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