Some Michigan Communities Adopt Social Districts

Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed legislation that allows for municipalities to create social districts. A social district is a public area designated by a municipality where licensed businesses can sell alcoholic beverages to be enjoyed by customers outdoors.

Once a municipality creates a social district, restaurants, and bars may attempt to become licensed sellers within the area by seeking approval from their municipalities and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.

Where are social districts in Michigan?

Municipalities in over 70 different cities across Michigan have already created social districts. Social districts are located in various communities throughout the state, from Petoskey to Grand Rapids to St. Clair Shores.

Social districts may include live music and markets on specific days. Some municipalities have even closed roads to create more space for people to gather.

Social districts – Here to stay?

While initially passed in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it appears social districts will be experimented with until at least the end of 2024. The time will allow the Michigan Legislature to receive feedback from municipalities, bars, and restaurants on the new law. Considering the abundance of social districts already in the state, it very well may be that social districts are here to stay.

Help is available

The attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are ready to answer your questions regarding Michigan social district laws. To contact an attorney, call 586-726-1000 or visit our website at

Categories: Municipal