Chicago moves to ban sale of single servings of alcohol after midnight
The proposal would prohibit retailers from selling single servings of alcohol after midnight in a questionable move to fight panhandling and public intoxication.
Chicagoans may no longer be able to purchase a 40-ounce bottle of beer or malt liquor after midnight.
A proposal to ban the sale of single servings of alcohol at stores between 12 a.m. and closing time has passed out of the Chicago City Council’s License and Consumer Protection Committee, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The proposed ordinance prohibits post-midnight sales of single servings containing less than 25 ounces of wine or liquor, and less than 41 ounces of beer or malt liquor.
Alderman Brian Hopkins, 2nd Ward, introduced the proposal. Hopkins said the purpose of the ordinance is to deter late-night panhandling outside package liquor stores and to stem public drunkenness and fights, the Sun-Times explained. However, the ban would not apply to all businesses that sell alcohol. It would only affect stores, not restaurants or bars. Hopkins said that while bar and restaurant staff are equipped to deal with intoxicated patrons, that isn’t true of retailers, according to the Sun-Times.
When another alderman asked how the ban would be enforced, he was informed it would be up to the police.
Now that the proposal has made it out of committee, it must be passed by the full City Council to become law.
While Hopkins and area residents’ concern over public intoxication is understandable, it is unclear whether this ban will do much to stop it. This proposal wouldn’t prevent people from simply buying larger containers or greater quantities of alcohol, such as a six-pack of beer or a fifth of liquor.
The ban also means Chicago police will have to take time from enforcing other laws to make sure retailers are following the ordinance – a questionable use of police resources.
At its core, the ban is also unfair to stores. If bars and restaurants are allowed to freely sell alcohol past midnight, retailers shouldn’t have undue restrictions placed on them.