Should bars be allowed to stay open until 4 a.m.?

Should bars be allowed to stay open until 4 a.m.?
Published: Aug. 28, 2023 at 4:44 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Louisville’s latest mass shooting has thrown fuel on the ongoing debate about rolling back bar closing times. Mayor Craig Greenberg openly asks if 4 a.m. is too late to stay open, and he is considering a crackdown.

“Let’s also look at the ordinances that are on our books. Do we need to do more?” Greenberg said Monday. “Should bars be open till 4 a.m.? I think that’s a legitimate question we should have conversations about as a community.”

Greenberg praised the “vast majority” of responsible bar owners and suggested targeting “bad actors” with an array of city enforcement actions. Greenberg said this could involve departments from Louisville Metro police and the Fire Marshal to the Metro Health Department and Alcoholic Beverage Control.

“We don’t do this in a knee-jerk, like this is an emotional thing,” District 8 Metro Councilman Ben Reno-Weber said. “That’s not really getting at the root of the issue. We need to be data, driven and thoughtful, which I think we have the opportunity to do.”

Reno-Weber represents the Highlands where he said most of the city’s bars allowed to stay open to 4 a.m. are located.

“So, what we’re really concerned about, what the mayor is concerned about, what metro council is concerned about, is the level of community violence that’s happening,” Reno-Weber said. “There is some public health data that indicates that later bars is correlated with violence. But we need to be really thinking about this, not in terms of band aids, but in a strategic approach to reducing the overall level reducing the overall level of violence.”

Reno-Weber encouraged data-driven decisions. He said discussions about bar closing times would best be included in plans to address the root causes of violence.

“We absolutely need to be doing this around points of violence, whether they are restaurants or bars, or something else,” Reno-Weber said. “But that has to be part of a broader set of investments that we are then going to evaluate.”