May 7, 2013

Essex County shortens bar hours

ELIZABETHTOWN — Despite a last-minute attempt to roll back bar closing hours to the restrictions of almost 40 years ago, Essex County lawmakers voted to change the time only from 4 a.m. to 3 a.m.

The County Board of Supervisors tally was 15-1, with Supervisor George Canon (R-Newcomb) opposed and Sue Montgomery Corey (D-Minerva) and Daniel Connell (D-Westport) absent from Monday’s meeting.

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The measure, which sets the mandatory closing time for establishments serving alcohol at 3 a.m., now goes to the State Liquor Authority, which will hold a local public hearing before it takes a vote on it.

“It’s changing on-premises consumption from our existing 4 a.m. to 3 a.m.,” County Attorney Daniel Manning III told supervisors.

Allowable opening hours would stay the same, at 8 a.m. Monday through Saturday and noon Sundays.


Before the vote, Supervisor Michael Marnell (R-Schroon) said he wanted to see the county go further and roll back bar hours to what they were in 1974, when taverns had to be closed Christmas Eve and Good Friday.

“I’d like to see us go back to 1974,” he said. “Good Friday would be closed. People could take the whole day off.”

The Board of Supervisors set the closing hour at 3 a.m. during an Aug. 8, 1974, meeting and ordered the holiday closures.

At a May 2, 2005, session, the latest serving time was changed to 4 a.m. and the holiday closures were repealed.


Marnell introduced a motion to reinstate the holiday closures, but it failed for lack of a second.

“I think that’s discussion for another day,” Supervisor Thomas Scozzafava (R-Moriah) said. “You’re walking a thin line when you tell bar owners you have to close on one religious holiday, (but) you can stay open on another religious holiday.”

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