City Attorney Confirms New Bar Hours May Create Law Enforcement Issues, More Drinking

City Attorney Confirms New Bar Hours May Create Law Enforcement Issues, More Drinking

Last January the City Commission voted 3-2 to change the closing time for restaurants and nightclubs from 2:30 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. The change kept in place the law that requires all establishments to stop selling beer, wine and liquor by 2 a.m. The change went into effect in February, 2016. You can read our report on the vote here.

However, now it appears the change in the law may have created unintended consequences.

TR has learned that the change, supported by Mayor Gillum and Commissioners Miller and Richardson, may have created a situation that presents enforcement challenges for the Tallahassee Police Department.

Previously, alcohol sales ended at 2:00 a.m. and the establishment had until about 2:30 to empty the premises and close.

With the new ordinance, alcohol can be sold until 2:00 a.m., but the establishment can stay open until 4 a.m.

Under the new ordinance, TR has been told that establishments can legally “bulk sell” alcoholic drinks before 2:00 a.m. and those drinks can be consumed on the premises of the night club until 4:00 a.m.

This scenario creates enforcement issues for police officers.

For example, what happens if a police officer walks into a nightclub at 3:00 or 3:30 a.m. and witnesses people consuming alcohol. How does the officer know if the alcohol was sold before 2:00 a.m. or after?

This situation was created because the change in the law moved the closing time of nightclubs further away from the 2:00 a.m. prohibition on alcohol sales. The 2:00 a.m. prohibition is on alcohol sales, not consumption.

If this is the case, the change in bar hours passed by the City Commission effectively extended the “consumption hours” of alcohol from 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m.

TR has learned that TPD has reached out to the City Attorney’s office for direction.

The City Attorney, Lew Shelley, told TR that they are evaluating the concerns raised by TPD to determine if changes to the recently passed ordinance will be required.

14 Responses to "City Attorney Confirms New Bar Hours May Create Law Enforcement Issues, More Drinking"

  1. Far as I’m concerned, bars should be able to be open 24 hours and sell booze to whoever wants it whenever they want it. All this pearl-clutching over bars open later just helps perpetuate the liberal nanny-state. If I want to buy a beer at 4:00am and someone wants to sell me a beer at 4:00am then that’s just the free market in action. I don’t see anything in the Constitution about Government Gets To Decide When I Can Buy a Beer.

    1. Gillum doesn’t have time for that.
      He’s got his hands full working for Soros and campaigning for the Hildebeast.

  2. Here is the crux of the issue. Free enterprise vs. public safety. If we want larger businesses making more money, then we have to stop telling these night clubs, restaurants, and small business owners when then must close etc. Alcohol consumption and /or prohibition is most certainly a public health and safety issue! So, as a community, if we do not have the stomach for this behavior, then also accept the issues we create for business owners to stay in business. Tallahassee, we can’t keep complaining about both sides of the same coin. We must take the good with the bad (whichever direction that may be), choose, and live with it!

  3. I think this was a HUGE mistake for this city. It will give increase the risk of dui offenders, as well as the crime rate for the locals.

  4. Taxahassee is slowly but surely turning into the version of Bedford Falls that would have happened if George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) had not been born in the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” movie.
    If only our Commissars could not have been born…

  5. Not a very responsible move by the Commission. We really don’t need more drinking. The increase in revenue for the bars will be at the cost to the public for extended police and paramedic hours, more accidents and injuries, and property damage. So we all bear the cost so that a few places can make more money.

    1. I believe the credibility of this commission was exposed this week with the closing of 101 downtown restaurant – the owner of the restaurant that closed abruptly – leaving their employees jobless and without notice. This is the same owner who is the owner of the Edison at Cascades Park (and mayor’s campaign treasurer). I believe citizens have had enough of this nonsense.

  6. Gillum, Richardson, and Miller have got to be removed from office…for reasons of public safety.

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