Springfield Mayor Proposes Controversial 1am Close for Bars and Clubs

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is proposing a 1 a.m. closing time for all bars and clubs in the city, less than a month after a 1 a.m. curfew on entertainment in such establishments went into effect, as reported by the Springfield Republican.

Sarno is asking the city License Commission to consider a new 1 a.m. closing hour for local bars and clubs, believing the earlier hour would enhance public safety.

The idea drew immediate criticism from local lawyer Thomas J. Rooke, saying it would be the “final nail in the coffin” of local businesses.

Sarno’s proposal occurs just two weeks after he imposed a 1 a.m. curfew on bar entertainment.

The curfew, which took effect April 7, allows bars to remain open until 2 a.m., the current closing hour, but requires them to turn off music, television sets and other forms of entertainment by 1 a.m., unless they obtain a “special late night entertainment permit.” Ten restaurant-bars successfully applied for the late night permits.

Sarno said he is “supportive of a 1 a.m. closure,” rather than the existing 2 a.m. closing time. The change, however, will require a public hearing and would need approval from the five-member License Commission, which is appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the City Council.

“I am in favor of an earlier closing time as it brings continued continuity to closing time and more importantly better overall public safety to visitors, our neighborhood residents and to the business community …,” Sarno said in a prepared statement.

The earlier time “will result into a much more thriving positive business and economic development climate,” Sarno said.

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