Press-Republican

Local News

April 9, 2013

Essex County moves toward reducing bar hours

(Continued)

ELIZABETHTOWN —

MacDevitt said he believes making the closing hour 2 a.m. would reduce alcohol-based problems and their costs, along with binge drinking, and would improve the neighborhood quality of life and health and safety.

“A small percentage of the people drink 50 percent of the alcohol,” he said. “You want to protect your folks from excessive drinking.”

“In a licensed premises, is binge drinking a real concern or is it a concern for off-premises drinking?” Blades asked.

“It is a problem in licensed premises, and we know that because when they stop someone for DWI, it comes up that they were recently at a licensed premises,” MacDevitt said.

“You have three beers and you’re on your way to intoxication.”

‘GOOD COMPROMISE’

Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) said if the bars close two hours earlier, patrons may just go somewhere else.

“It’s a Catch-22. Maybe they are better in that licensed premises. You close those bars earlier, you may be sending those people you’re trying to help into another set of circumstances.”

MacDevitt said only 21 counties in the state have a 4 a.m. closing time; the others are 2 or 3 a.m.

“You’re looking at changing the norm,” he said. “The 4 a.m. is way at the end of the spectrum.”

Politi said the closing time is only one of the factors that affect alcohol misuse.

“I don’t think the hour is as much a problem as the individual,” he said. “Irresponsible people do irresponsible things. These (factors) all cause tragedies.”

Preston said he spoke with owners of businesses that sell alcohol in his town and they were against a 2 a.m. closing time.

“We are a tourist county. That is our main economy. 

“I think 3 a.m. is a good compromise.”

Email Lohr McKinstry:lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com

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