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Downtown businesses will be allowed to have alcohol outdoors on Husker home game Saturdays
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Downtown businesses will be allowed to have alcohol outdoors on Husker home game Saturdays

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Gameday, 9/29

Fans gather in the Railyard to watch the Nebraska-Purdue football game in 2018. 

Special designated licenses, which allow businesses to hold events with alcohol outside their normally licensed business footprint, will be used downtown on Husker home game Saturdays this fall.

Until this year, the special designated licenses were not permitted by the city on NU home game Saturdays. But the Big Ten Conference’s prohibition on fans in stadiums has prompted the city to allow two licenses, called SDLs, on the four home gamedays.

“In the past, we haven't been able to do this because the security needed to pull these special designated licenses off safely has not been available,” Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said Friday.

“Those off-duty police officers are typically helping to provide support for the stadium for traffic on gamedays. So, knowing that we won’t have fans in the stadium, we've made an exception to past practices.”

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Allowing the special designated licenses, which must be approved by the City Council, is designed to create a safe environment for Husker fans who come to Lincoln and venture downtown for the game.

“We know that when people are outside, they're safer than in enclosed, confined, indoor spaces,” Gaylor Baird said. “We're trying our best to support safe activity on these gamedays.”

The special designated licenses must be operated under the Lincoln-Lancaster County directed health measure requirements, including wearing masks except when eating or drinking, Gaylor Baird said.

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Three areas applied for the licenses — Canopy Street, the Haymarket (Eighth and P streets) and 14th Street between O and P streets. And the city will allow two at a time.

“When we look at the capacities in off-duty resources and the traffic control necessary, we can't really accommodate three, but we can probably accommodate two,” said mayoral aide Jon Carlson. “So we figured out they need to do a rotation and kind of take turns.”

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The rotation is as follows:

* Oct. 31: Canopy Street and the Haymarket.

* Nov. 14: Haymarket and 14th Street.

* Nov. 20 or 21: Canopy and 14th streets.

* Dec. 12: Canopy Street and the Haymarket.

The three locations have each applied for an special designated license on away game Saturdays — Canopy Street on Oct. 24, 14th Street on Nov. 7 and Haymarket on Nov. 27. SDLs are already permitted on away game Saturdays.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7244 or kwolgamott@journalstar.com. On Twitter @KentWolgamott  

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Entertainment reporter/columnist

L. Kent Wolgamott, the recipient of the 2018 Mayor’s Arts Award, has written about arts and entertainment for Lincoln newspapers since 1985, reviewing thousands of movies and concerts and hundreds of art exhibitions.

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