KU advancing to Elite 8 means new rules for celebrations in downtown Lawrence

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LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Jayhawk nation is ramping up for Friday night's match-up against Clemson in the Sweet 16. But if Kansas brings home a win, it means new rules moving forward for celebrations during the Elite 8 and beyond in downtown Lawrence.

Lawrence Police Officer Drew Fennelly made the rounds Wednesday on Mass Street to share the new rules with every downtown business owner. Should the Jayhawks advance to the Elite 8 and beyond, new rules kick in for game-time celebrations downtown.

"It’s more preventative in nature," Fennelly said. "In the past, we’ve had really safe celebrations down here."

The new rules ban beverages in glass bottles and cans. Only plastic and paper containers can be used.

New this year, party-goers are also prevented from going onto business rooftops.

"We want to make sure we’re creating the safest possible environment for people to come down here and celebrate KU’s success," Fennelly said. "The last thing we want to do is have an incident down here. And if there’s steps we can take to prevent incidents from occurring, then that’s what we’re going to do."

Some business owners have concerns and questions.

"Are we liable for people who go on our roof without our knowledge?" one owner asked.

"Yes, yes," Fennelly said.

But most are excited for the celebrations and are ready to follow the new rules.

"We want everybody to have a great time and everybody to get excited and party as much as they want to, but just do it safely," said Cary Strong, owner of Aimee's Coffeehouse.

And Strong is glad they've been down this road before, thanks to KU's college hoops success.

"Rock chalk, man! Let’s do this!" Strong said.

Businesses can face fines for breaking these new rules. But police are optimistic they'll get good cooperation and will continue passing out reminders over the next few days to help encourage safe celebrations downtown.

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