Downtown businesses are working with a nonprofit group to improve Macon’s nightlife

Josh Rogers, president of NewTown Macon, said:

“We had 5 restaurants and bars 10 years ago. Today, we have 52 restaurants and 26 bars and music venues. They go to cities around the country and help you build a successful nightlife plan, and that includes looking at the economic impact of your existing nightlife, looking at how you can increase the amount of nightlife to support a vibrant economy, but then also making sure it’s safe and sustainable. We need the bar owners to advise each other when they’ve excluded somebody from entry or when they’ve cut somebody off from being served or when they have somebody who is already angry and showing signs of agitation.”

The group is called the Responsible Hospitality Institute. Members of the group have come to Macon about three times to speak to and visit downtown restaurants and shops.

One suggestion is making is a new communication system for business owners. Rogers says the pandemic dragged the project out much longer than expected, but he’s confident that once it’s completed, downtown Macon will be safer.

“They have done nightlife studies in Athens, Georgia, Miami, Florida — I mean, they’ve covered the whole country. I just feel like we’re gonna get a really good plan with the most helpful tasks and that we’re going to be able to implement them quickly,” he says.

Rogers says another suggestion they’re expecting is in-depth training for private security hired by business owners. He adds that the complete survey plan should be complete by January.

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