Committee to hold hearings on Chicago’s proposed midnight liquor curfew

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CHICAGO — A city committee will hold hearings Thursday on Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s revised plan to stop alcohol sales at midnight.

The mayor’s first proposal of 10 p.m. was considered dead on arrival. It was met with pushback from several alderman due to businesses struggling amid the pandemic.

“This initiative has focused from the beginning on addressing what is not working with business as usual, based on what we have heard from community members, business leaders and workers – and we appreciate the continued dialogue we have had the past few weeks,” Lightfoot said. “We believe a midnight closure is a reasonable compromise that addresses the serious nuisance issues raised by late-night liquor sales without unduly burdening our business community, and I continue to look forward to working with all stakeholders to make our city as safe and vibrant as possible.”

According to the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, residents have raised concerns related to late-night alcohol sales at liquor stores and other package goods establishments, such as pharmacies that sell alcohol.

During the city’s COVID-19 restrictions, a liquor sales curfew was implemented starting at 9 p.m. and then later was extended to 11 p.m., where they currently stand until June 26. Prior to the pandemic, liquor stores could stay open until 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Sundays.

If this proposal is not passed in City Council on June 23, store hours would revert back to 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. after June 26.

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection said 911 calls for disturbances at liquor stores during the pandemic went down 75% last year.

The proposal is part of the “Chi Biz Strong Initiative” and will be introduced to the Committee on License and Consumer Protection on Thursday. It will then have to be approved by a full City-Council vote.

Three alderman voice support for the proposal in BACP’s press release; 37th Ward Ald. Emma Mitts, 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney and 46th Ward Ald. James Cappleman.

“Late-night alcohol sales have long posed a problem in the 37th Ward and throughout the City, and I thank Mayor Lightfoot for listening to the community and taking the initiative to address this problem,” said Mitts. “It is important that come together to find a reasonable compromise, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this necessary legislation that strikes the right balance between our businesses and our communities.”

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