Bars recover an additional hour
The opening hours of bars at A1 taverns have been extended to midnight, seven days a week, after the village council approved a new ordinance on July 2 at a special meeting. The ordinance replaces the April 26 reduction in hours, forcing bars that don’t serve food to close at 11 p.m. every night until Labor Day. The revision was unanimously approved by Mayor Rory Hoskins and the three Commissioners present. Commissioner Dan Novak, who resigned at the last scheduled regular meeting, was not present.
During the meeting, Commissioner Joe Byrnes said he wanted to change the ordinance, allowing bars to stay open until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings (Saturday and Sunday mornings).
Commissioners Jessica Voogd and Ryan Nero did not second the motion to amend, so it did not pass, but both said they did not want to wait until Labor Day to extend hours.
“I hear what you’re saying,” Nero said to Byrnes. But he described the 12 o’clock closing time as a “stepping stone”. For now, he said, “midnight is a good compromise.”
“I think this is the first step forward,” Nero said. “Let’s make the bars one more hour, see how it goes.” He added, however, that he wanted a fixed date on which the matter would be discussed again, and not just leave the table with a vague idea that further discussions would follow.
“Maybe we’ll get back together the first week of August, and if things go in the right direction, we can sit down and make another decision,” Nero said.
Voogd agreed with Nero, asking Hoskins if the extended hours issue could be revisited in 30 days instead of waiting until Labor Day. Hoskins agreed.
Voogd also asked Police Chief Tom Aftanas, present at the meeting, to share his thoughts on extending the bar closures.
“I can say that in the last month there has been no problem like the one we experienced in early May,” Aftanas said. The volume of calls from people complaining about issues with bars has dropped dramatically, he said, from five to seven calls a day to one or none most days.
“We know that eventually the time is going to be extended,” Aftanas said. “I can’t look to the future and say, yes, this is the exact time to do it. Or that in a month the weather will be even better; we won’t know until we open up and see how things go. He added that with the opening of the state and Chicago, things will most likely improve since Forest Park won’t be the only place people go for a night out.
But Byrnes, who had proposed allowing longer hours on weekends, an amendment that was not seconded, said he believed the midnight allowance was “just a kick in the box. “.
“We’ll never know what’s going on until we try something new,” Byrnes said. He said he understood the midnight curfew on weekday evenings. “But on the weekends we still have other establishments open until one o’clock,” Byrnes added. That’s because A license holders, those who get at least half of their growth income from selling food, are currently allowed to stay open until 1 a.m. on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekdays. weekends whether or not they serve food until closing time.