Grocery and liquor stores would be barred from selling beer, wine and liquor after 10 p.m. if Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot gets her way. She said the move would curb crime by stopping gatherings outside liquor stores and help recovering bars and restaurants.
Mayor Lightfoot introduced an amendment Wednesday that would permanently ban Chicago stores from selling beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks after 10 p.m.
In April 2020, Lightfoot instituted the controversial 9 p.m. liquor curfew in Chicago to prevent residents from gathering outside during the coronavirus pandemic. Stores had been allowed to stay open until 2 a.m. most days and 3 a.m. Saturdays before the pandemic. The city revived the early curfew in October to combat a second wave of COVID-19 cases.
Now, as Chicago enters the final phase of the COVID-19 reopening plan, Lightfoot wants to make the 10 p.m. curfew permanent. She said it would curb crimes and disturbances outside stores, as well as boost the pandemic-decimated hospitality industry by potentially driving more people into bars and restaurants if they want a drink after 10 p.m.
The Chicago municipal code amendment proposed by Lightfoot during Wednesday’s City Council meeting would limit any person with a package goods license from selling or giving away packaged goods 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily.
“This initiative will address public safety and nuisance issues by limiting the nighttime sale of packaged goods …,” Lightfoot’s office announced in a news release.
While Lightfoot originally defended the 2020 alcohol curfew as a “protective” measure against COVID-19 infections, she introduced the permanent curfew on Chicago liquor vendors as part of a package to help businesses recovering from the pandemic. She also proposed a 15% cap on fees charged by food delivery services and permanently allowing cocktails to-go.
The City Council must approve Lightfoot’s plan for the curfew to go into effect.