32 Businesses Have Signed Onto the Picnic Day Covenant

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citycatYesterday the Davis Downtown Business Association announced that 32 business with licenses to sell alcohol have signed a 13-point Picnic Day Community Covenant, agreeing to responsible hospitality practices that highlight moderation and appropriate use of alcoholic beverages on Picnic Day 2011, scheduled for Saturday, April 16.

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.

The release goes on to report that the Davis Downtown Business Association (DDBA) has taken the lead with introducing the Covenant to downtown bars and restaurants, while the Davis Chamber of Commerce is communicating the importance of the initiative to ABC license-holders throughout the rest of the city.

“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

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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10 thoughts on “32 Businesses Have Signed Onto the Picnic Day Covenant”

  1. E Roberts Musser

    My deepest appreciation to DDBA and the following businesses for agreeing to/signing the convenant: “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.”

    I will be sure to keep these businesses in mind when I decide where to dine. Those that ultimately fail to sign – I will take my dollars elsewhere. I am heartened to see the business community beginning to come together as one to make Picnic Day the true family friendly event it is supposed to be. My hope is UCD fraternities and sororities will also step up to the plate as they did before and do whatever they can to improve the Picnic Day experience. It is going to take a multi-pronged approach. The one thing that is imponderable is the weather, which can be a contributing factor. Good weather does have a tendency to bring people out, whereas rain does have a dampening effect! I also give Mayor Joe Krovoza a lot of credit for stepping up to the plate in leading this effort, even before he became mayor. Police Chief Landy Black has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to get this right; Gary Sandy from UCD has been a powerhouse in making sure UCD does whatever it can to make Picnic Day the signature event it was intended to be. Thanks to any and all who are doing whatever they can to ensure a positive 2011 Picnic Day…

  2. biddlin

    Why stop here? Let’s have a tent revival and temperance rally. We should cover up any sexually suggestive billboards or posters, make local radio and tv agree to block any ads, songs or scenes that reference or depict drinking or sexual activity. Buttons and zippers are well known promoters of sexual promiscuity and should be abjured. Women wearing make-up should be assumed to be of easy virtue and immediately stoned. All casks, bottles, cans and goat skins containing alcohol should be seized and destroyed. That’ll make for a hell of a Picnic Day. See you at the bonfire!

  3. Justin Kudo

    I still feel like this isn’t rational. I still contend that there was not a larger percentage of the population “drunk and disorderly” than there has been any other year. There was, on the other hand, massive overcrowding from a surprisingly high turnout due to weather.

  4. DT Businessman

    Biddin and Justin, you obviously have little idea what takes place on Picnic Day. The problems did not just arise last year, but have become steadily worse over the years. The Downtown businesses suffer many thousands of dollars of damages every year. The clean-up expense is significant. Employees are accosted by drunken buffoons. Downtown employees are physically threatend having to call 911. Not all Downtown businesses are bars. Many retailers and professionals have elected to close on Picnic Day because of the threat to body and property. We have every right to operate our businesses in a physically safe and clean environment. And your solution is to stick your head in the sand? Pull your head out.

  5. biddlin

    DT Businessman-So you want a day, when everyone is sober and orderly,spending money in your establishment and cleaning up after themselves. That seems unlikely to attract big spending crowds. Like most college town business folk you’re happy to take their money and then complain like heck about their lifestyle. I get the impression from most folks that they don’t fear for their lives or virtue any more on Picnic Day than any other. That said, most of the trouble happened away from campus and that makes it the business of residents, business owners and DPD. If you have a private party, you are responsible for the safety of your guests and that includes taking car keys and cutting off the alcohol. Sorry DT Businessman, but you’re responsible for the safety of your employees and customers/clients in your establishment. If you deem the situation unsafe, instead of keeping the cash register ringing, you need to see that folks get out safely and close the doors. DPD, you know when the event is going to occur, plan and prepare. Closing streets and managing access seems pretty basic. Whether Picnic Day continues or not, the kids are going to party and sometimes some of them are going to go too far.

  6. civil discourse

    It all seems fairly rational and Davis-like. Nothing wrong with that. But the pendulum will eventually swing back towards excess. And by that I mean mud pits of wrestling females, riot cops, and parents standing by drinking with their underage son / daughter. Ah, picnic day. So classy!

  7. DT Businessman

    Sorry Biddlin, your English reading skills need a tune up. I have no idea how you fabricated the comments that you attribute to me. As I said in my previous post, “Not all Downtown businesses are bars.” If you had any skills of observation you would know that the vast majority of Downtown businesses do not serve alcohol. Many of them do not have a cash register. I do not have a cash register. I do take responsibility for my employees and clients. I deem the situation unsafe. I have taken action. What actions have you taken other than spouting off with uninformed comments? I wonder whether you even realize how offensive your gross generalizations are?

  8. E Roberts Musser

    To all: I can choose where to spend my dollars. And if I so choose to only frequent those establishments that sign onto the convenant, that is my choice. For me personally, businesses that are willing to take some responsibility in addressing the problem of Picnic Day are businesses that I want to reward for their sense of community responsibility. It appears the Davis PD and UCD are also doing their part to keep this coming Picnic Day safe. It will take a multi-pronged approach. Why not allow such a solution, and see if it does indeed work? If not, then perhaps it is time to go to Plan X…

  9. DT Businessman

    ERM, many thanks for your constructive comments. The message we wish to broadcast is visitors, residents, and students are welcome to celebrate UCD and the community on Picnic Day. Have fun yes, destroy no. The same is true of any community event, the Ceramics Festival, Celebrate Davis, etc. It is astonishing that some individuals find this message controversial. I applaud the great work of the DPD, UCD, DDBA, Chamber, City staff, student organizers, and countless businesses and individuals to reform Picnic Day. If we cannot reform it, yes, we will have no choice but to cancel it.

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