According to their release, 25 of those 32 businesses are based in the Davis Downtown area, which was the site of the majority of Picnic Day-related disturbances in 2010.
“We are encouraged by the increase in interest in Covenant participation, in the past two weeks, in particular,” stated Joy Cohan, DDBA Director. “As Spring approaches and Picnic Day draws nearer, I think the memories of last year’s difficulties are returning, and restaurants and retailers are realizing that it’s up to them to take the lead in preserving Picnic Day as a Davis tradition, and maintaining Davis’ reputation as a family-friendly, health and fitness-conscious community throughout the year.”
The release goes on to acknowledge there are 115 ABC license-holders in the City of Davis, with more than 60 of those concentrated in the downtown.
“DDBA and the Chamber of Commerce will continue to work with businesses one-on-one to encourage community unity in avoiding practices such as alcohol sales prior to 11:00 a.m. and the use of price promotions or specials that encourage over-consumption of alcohol, among the 13 points of agreement,” the release continues.
“Among the goals of the Picnic Day Working Group is to engage 100% of Davis’ ABC license-holders in the Picnic Day Covenant,” explained Ms. Cohan. “At this point, all such businesses have received a Covenant to sign. DDBA and the Chamber are teaming to make personal contact with any establishment from whom we do not receive a signed Covenant within a reasonable timeframe. Beginning later this month, the Davis Police Department plans to join our organizations in making visits to businesses still not on board.”
Among those who have signed the Covenant to date, most are independent, locally-owned businesses. However, Target Corporation is the first corporate participant in the program.
“It is encouraging to see that even a large corporation, headquartered thousands of miles from Davis, is so willing to be a good neighbor and do the right thing in the face of a situation that puts both public safety and a local tradition at risk,” commented Christi Skibbins, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce.
By late March, the Working Group plans an advertising and publicity campaign which will publicly thank all Picnic Day Covenant signers for their cooperation and support of healthy Picnic Day practices.
“We know that, even with 100% participation in the Covenant, we will not be able to eliminate all unfavorable behaviors on Picnic Day related to alcohol consumption,” said Ms. Cohan. “But, the Working Group believes that solidarity on issues of safe and reasonable access to alcohol, and the maintenance of the image of Davis that is put forth the other 364 days of the year, will send a strong message to those who may think that Davis will again be a place for unbridled drinking and brawling in the streets this year. It will not be, and the Covenant and its participants will be at the fore of sending that message loud and clear.”
The 32 Davis businesses having signed the Picnic Day Covenant as of February 10 are: Beach Hut Deli, Bistro 33, Café Mediterranee, Ciocolat, El Mariachi, Froggy’s, The Graduate, Great Wall of China, Hallmark Inn, House of Chang, Hunan, Kathmandu, Kim’s Asian Mart, Mikuni, Mishka’s Café, The Mustard Seed, Oshio Café, Pluto’s, Quick Stop (8h Street & Pole Line Road), Raja Indian Cuisine, Sophia’s Thai Kitchen, Sudwerk Brewery, Sunrise Restaurant, Tacos & Beer, Target Corporation, Thai Canteen, Thai Nakorn, Uncle Vito’s Slice of NY, Village Pizza & Grill, Westlake IGA Grocery, Wok of Flame, and Woodstock’s Pizza.
Mayor Joe Krovoza, as we noted earlier this week, has said he’ll publicly shame those business who do not. Since that time, the number of signees has increased from 18 to 32, with nine weeks to go until the event.
The city has taken huge steps to deal with some of the problems. Last week the council took a further step by authorizing a safety zone that would occur in the core area for the day of Picnic Day that would allow police to double fines for offenses such as public intoxication, drinking in public, and violations of the noise ordinance.
The key, I think, is the voluntary covenant which means that businesses themselves will step up to take responsibility.
The thirteen points that businesses would agree to include:
- Refrain from selling or serving alcoholic beverages before 11:00 am.
- Refrain from the use of price promotions or specials on alcoholic beverages that encourage overconsumption and intoxication.
- Provide low alcohol and alcohol-free beverages, priced competitively with alcoholic beverages, whenever and wherever alcoholic beverages are sold or served.
- When possible, provide food when alcoholic beverages are sold or served, and encourage the consumption of these foods.
- Refrain from altering the seating and table plans for “regular business” before 10:00 p.m. both inside and on the patios of restaurants.
- Encourage the creation of an atmosphere that facilitates positive group social interaction and provides activities other than drinking alcohol. This includes proper lighting inside, in front, and in the parking areas of the establishment, and avoiding offensive posters or displays that promote alcohol consumption rather than on- or off-campus Picnic Day activities.
- Refrain from the use of alcohol-themed promotional flyers on utility poles and other public right of ways, in addition to the use of TV or other media to promote Picnic Day as a “party” or “drinking” event, or to advertise via these means more than one week prior to Picnic Day.
- Encourage increased awareness of the risks involved with the consumption of beverages containing alcohol related to activities and situations that might result in harm, injury or death.
- Provide adequate supervision of activities by those who are properly trained to maintain control of the environment, by providing additional staff to ensure orderly entrances and exits.
- Encourage responsible drinking by all guests who choose to consume alcoholic beverages, avoiding offers on drink specials that encourage quick or quantity drinking, i.e. shooters.
- Comply with all legal obligations for the appropriate service and consumption of beverages containing alcohol, including not permitting service to patrons who are underage, without valid I.D.’s or those who are obviously intoxicated.
- Promote and provide responsible beverage service training to all persons who serve and sell alcoholic beverages, including recognition of standard drink size and drink equivalency.
- Promote the safety of guests and others by encouraging the use of alternative transportation, including a designated driver program or arranging rides with taxi or friends.
Even these only go so far. It still ends up being in the hands of the students as to how to conduct themselves.
I have previously lived in a community, San Luis Obispo, that suffered far worse transgressions back in 1990. They ended up doing away with their signature event, Poly Royal, probably to the detriment to the community. Davis has made a concerted effort to protect Picnic Day.
I think this year’s event will go off without a hitch, but the key will be five years down the line, seeing if there is the same kind of sustained effort to make sure that things do not get out of hand.
—David M. Greenwald reporting