By Mike Steely
“We can dance if we want to” is the opening line to the 1982 song “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats.
As of last week, Knoxville can legally join the dance party. You can legally dance in your local tavern or any place that legally sells beer and has no rules against dancing.
The Knoxville City Council Tuesday amended a 1962 ordinance that read “No beer shall be sold on premises upon any part of which dancing is allowed unless the cleared area provided for dancing shall contain at least 144 feet of floor space.”
The ordinance had required the dance floor and the beer sales to be in separate parts of a building separated by a wall, railing, rope or other definite means. It also forbid beer sales and dancing where minors were present, making it a misdemeanor offense.
Section 4-40 of the City Code and Division 2 of Section 4-60 was amended to permit beers sales and dancing for all current and future beer permit holders and dropped the requirement for a special “with dancing” permit.
Mayor Madeline Rogero and Councilman George Wallace suggested the change and the motion passed second and final reading with a unanimous vote.