Chicago Mayor Lightfoot to introduce alcohol sale ban in stores after midnight to address ‘nuisance issues’

on Jun15
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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will introduce a measure Thursday to ban alcohol sales after midnight in an effort to address the serious “nuisance issues” near liquor stores after reaching a compromise with other elected leaders that saw her back off an earlier closing time.

The mayor originally introduced the proposal as part of a package to help city businesses recover from the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. A 9 p.m. liquor sale curfew took effect in the early days of the pandemic and later extended to 11 p.m., the Chicago Tribune reported. 

The compromise will be introduced to the city’s Committee on License and Consumer Protection.

Lightfoot proposed a 10 p.m. closing time, but influential aldermen balked, saying the city would be better off cracking down on problem businesses instead of penalizing all of them as many are still trying to recover, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. 

“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,” Lightfoot said in a news release.

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The Chicago Police Department responds to more than 50 calls to 911 annually from every establishment that has a package goods liquor license, according to the city’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Department, WTTW-TV reported.

Calls for disturbances to liquor stores fell by 75% when hours were limited, officials said. 

“The midnight liquor curfew is a good compromise between the needs of businesses that are working to recover from the pandemic and the needs of residents that face quality of life issues in their neighborhoods,” said 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney in a statement. 

The move comes as the city is slowly reopening its economy but also dealing with a series of highly publicized shootings that have dominated the headlines. 

Four people were killed early Tuesday and another four were injured when gunfire erupted inside a home in Englewood, one of Chicago’s most troubled neighborhoods. Among the victims were three mothers. 

The shooting came days after a woman and nine other people were injured after two men opened fire on a group standing on a sidewalk. That mass shooting was the third in Chicago just over a week and one of several across the country over the weekend, according to the Times, sparking concern from law enforcement about what could a precursor to a violent summer. 

Citywide, Chicago has experienced 282 murders as of Sunday, compared to 269 during the same time period last year, according to police data.

Police tape marks off a Chicago street as officers investigate the scene of a fatal shooting in the city's South Side on Tuesday. An argument in a house erupted into gunfire early Tuesday, police said. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)

Police tape marks off a Chicago street as officers investigate the scene of a fatal shooting in the city’s South Side on Tuesday. An argument in a house erupted into gunfire early Tuesday, police said. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)

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In a series of tweets Tuesday, Lightfoot said leaders must address “systemic inequities” that are the root of gun violence. 

In a letter to President Biden signed by Lightfoot and 26 other mayors, the United States Conference of Mayors urged him to “take immediate action” to end the scourge of gun violence and the flow of illegal guns in their cities. 

“So many cities and towns are now dots on a map of mass shootings that could have been prevented if there were a federal web of uniform laws,” the letter reads. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 



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