After a post from two Barstool-Sports-affiliated Instagram accounts for University of Alabama (UA) students urged individuals to contact the Tuscaloosa City Council, hundreds of emails flooded council members’ inboxes before the July 25 council meeting urging them not to close the city’s bars at midnight.

“Tuscaloosa City Council will be voting TONIGHT on whether or not to close all bars down at midnight,” the post read. “This could significantly impact local businesses, working college students and student life as a whole.”

The post, by @barstoolalabama and @bamachicks, was captioned, “I thought this was America.”

The post got two things wrong, however: the city council is not considering shutting down the bars at midnight but rather forcing the bars to stop selling alcohol at midnight, and the measure has only been suggested. It is yet to come up for a vote. 

City officials have been searching for solutions to alleviate the strain placed on the police force at The Strip since a shooting resulted in the death of a 23-year-old female and the arrest of a UA basketball player in January landed the city in the national press.

The Strip is home to several bars frequented by UA students, such as Rounders and the Bear Trap. Tuscaloosa is home to 39 bars and gastropubs, but the vast majority are concentrated across six city blocks.

The Tuscaloosa City Council has already placed a moratorium on approving new alcohol vendor licenses until the end of the year.

Currently, bars and lounges in Tuscaloosa can serve alcohol until 2 a.m. on Saturdays and weeknights and by 2:45 a.m. on Fridays. On Sundays, bars must close by 10:15 p.m. Faile initially suggested the bars should stop selling alcohol by midnight.

Tuscaloosa City Councilman John Faile originally proposed stopping alcohol sales at midnight. He spoke to 1819 News last month, suggesting the earlier cutoff time would reduce the amount of overtime for police, which would make up for the loss of revenue from taxing bar profits during those extra hours. 

Nevertheless, bar owners have stressed they stand to lose millions in annual revenue if forced to stop selling alcohol at midnight. This could also result in fewer hours and less pay for cooks, security guards and other workers.

One bar owner told 1819 News last week that the bar owners are working with the city council to reach a solution, and he does not think Faile’s suggestion will ever go into effect. He said he thinks bars will just have to stop selling alcohol an hour earlier on Friday, more than likely.

Tuscaloosa City Council president Kip Tyner told the Crimson White, one of Alabama’s student newspapers, on Wednesday that the misunderstanding led to the council receiving a total of 408 emails from concerned students.

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