Georgetown City Council was supposed to give final reading to an ordinance last week that would have prohibited bars in the city from being open after 2 a.m. But, the proposed law — which received first reading approval in May — will undergo more study before a second reading vote is taken.
The ordinance, as currently written, would force bars — or other any other business that has a license for on-premise alcohol consumption — to close between the hours of 2 and 7 a.m.
Kathy Mitchum, owner of Kats on South Fraser Street, is urging council to rewrite the law before it is passed. At last week’s council meeting she said because she is located between the steel and paper mills, she has truckers and others stop in her restaurant after 2 a.m. looking for something to eat.
She said there is already a state law prohibiting the sale of liquor after 2 a.m. which she obeys. Beer can be sold after 2 a.m., according to the state law.
Mitchum said the part of the law forcing her to close at 2 a.m. would mean a loss in business and revenue she would make from food sales.
Councilman Rudolph Bradley sided with Mitchum, saying he does not understand why the city would try to tell the businesses they could not stay open after 2 a.m.
“It is not fair for council to take bread out of anyone’s mouths. I have an obligation to all who make an honest living,” Bradley said.
He said things have changed and these days it is not unusual for people to go out to restaurants and bars at 11 p.m. or later.
“They are not all malefactors. Most of them are good decent people,” he said.
Bradley said when the matter was discussed in May he was under the impression they were talking about what time the establishments had to stop serving alcohol, not what time they had to close.
During the May meeting, Georgetown Police Capt. Nelson Brown said the proposed ordinance is patterned after a law on the books in Conway.
Mayor Jack Scoville used Sam’s Corner in Litchfield and Garden City as an example. He said those restaurants are open 24 hours but stop serving alcohol at 2 a.m.
“If a business like that wanted to come here, they would be forced to close at 2 a.m.,” Scoville said.
He then suggested more study on the issue be done to see if the ordinance can be reworded.
By Scott Harper
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