Should Michigan Bars Stay Open Until 4AM? Proposed Bill Says, Yes.
Back in September of 2020, a bill to allow bars to stay open later was proposed but has since fizzled out. Of course, I understand the delay. After all, what's the rush to push a bill like that when bars and restaurants have a 10pm curfew? However, it looks like that bill is back on the table.
As reported by WXYZ News Channel 7, the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Ryan Berman, testified before the House committee last week pushing the reasons why this bill, that would allow bars and restaurants to serve alcohol until 4am instead of 2am, would be necessary and successful for local businesses.
Berman said, in part,
Once that (the 10pm curfew) is lifted it gives the local establishments, restaurants, bars, the ability to make up some lost time. Not everybody, in what we’re learning, has the same schedule. Not everybody works 9 to 5, not everybody is on the same sleep schedule. People work nights, people work weekends, different shifts.
I do see his point. It may give bars and restaurants a shot at recuperating funds that have been lost over the last year. However, legally serving alcohol until the wee hours of the morning has potential downsides too. How far are people driving to visit said bars? How will they get home safely at 4am when rideshares are few and far between unless you're in a big city? Now, I'm in no way a mental health professional but if a person is struggling with addiction or depression or loneliness wouldn't the option to drink even later perpetuate those feelings and struggles?
Those thoughts and concerns are shared by Mike Tobias Michigan Alcohol Policy Promoting Health and Safety who brought up the point of accessibility in smaller towns. He suggested that the lack of bars in smaller towns would prompt patrons to drive to nearby cities which may be an hour plus drive. That means that people would be leaving the bars at 4am and not arriving home until 5 or 5:30am.
Supporters of the bill insist that there's a market for serving drinks later and that the point is to save local businesses. It should be noted that just because the legal time for serving may be extended it in no way forces businesses to stay open that late if they don't want to.
For now, the bill is still awaiting approval and it doesn't seem to be very urgent. However, the goal is to have a decision made before the 10pm curfew is lifted for restaurants and bars.