The Senate is currently looking at legislation that would allow a licensee located within a central business district in a city to sell or furnish alcohol from 2-4 a.m. on any day if a $10,000 license has been obtained from the state.
We are cautiously optimistic that approval of this measure could have a great benefit for businesses choosing to purchase an extended license.
For starters, by allowing people to stay past the 2 a.m. bar closing time, they are encouraging more business.
We are all for the success of our local food and beverage service establishments. And by providing them the freedom to stay open longer, they can be assured more opportunity for income.
Another benefit is that the cities where these new 4 a.m. closing time businesses are in line to benefit from the hefty license fees.
In a time when many communities are strapped for cash, 5 percent of the fee collected would be disbursed to the cities where the extended-hours permits are located for administration costs, and 85 percent would be disbursed to the police departments of cities where the extended-hours permits are located for enforcement efforts.
One thing that needs to be addressed if this is to become a reality, however, is the safety and regulation aspect of it.
While there are measures in place, such as the requirement for on-site security from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., and the requirement for video surveillance systems, we would like the state to make sure that everything is fleshed out to ensure that patrons are safe.
A lingering concern we have is whether this could increase drunken driving and its related crashes. There are few ways to really determine whether this would be the case before the change would go into effect, but surely police agencies and bar owners would work together to ensure that early-morning patrons are being responsible.
Safety should be prioritized over the economic boost, but we think this can be worked out by responsible establishment practices.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.