Restaurants, taverns move to 1 a.m. closing time
Story by Alicia Steele, Staff writer
The Murray City Council voted on Jan. 14 to set a new closing time for all restaurants and taverns in the city to 1 a.m. to match the new city ordinance for alcohol sales. Previously, the ordinance stopped the sale of alcohol in restaurants at midnight and stopped the sale of alcohol in taverns at 1:30 a.m.
According to city council’s meeting agenda, this new ordinance was put into place “to create uniformity in the hours of sale among establishments permitted to sell alcoholic beverages.”
However, Mayor Jack Rose said that his top concern when establishing this new ordinance was the safety of the citizens of Murray. He also said that a top priority was creating fairness between restaurants and taverns by having them close at the same time, rather than the hour and a half difference.
“It was a safety issue and a fairness issue to me,” Rose said. “That’s where I was coming from the whole time.”
Rose said the idea was brought to the city council when members began asking whether it was fair for restaurants to close earlier than taverns.
He said he then spoke with the Murray Police Department and found that with the current hours of operation for restaurants and taverns, people were leaving restaurants around 11:30 p.m. after already having been drinking and then they would drive to taverns in town to continue drinking.
Rose said a goal was to “not have those people on the road moving from one institution to another.”
Lauren Edwards, freshman from Marshall, Kentucky, said she agrees with the new city ordinance.
“I think it’s a good thing because it gets people home sooner,” Edwards said.
She said she believes that with this new city ordinance, restaurants will now profit just as much as taverns rather than having to close earlier and lose those profits.
Edwards also said she thinks the new ordinance will help keep the people of Murray safe because it will help to reduce the number of drivers who may have been drinking from being on the road at the same time as those who have not been drinking.
“I think it will allow people to drink but also be safe,” Edwards said.
Zoe Sparks, junior from Cincinnati, Ohio, said she does not agree that taverns in Murray should have to close earlier.
“I think shortening the times bars are open here in Murray will make people think they need to drink more in a shorter period of time,” Sparks said.
Sparks said she recently traveled to Germany for a study abroad trip, and that taught her a lot about the drinking culture in other countries.
“There it is safer and people are more controlled and do not binge drink,” Sparks said. “That is a problem here in the states.”