Chicago’s Mayor Proposes a 10 PM Liquor Sales Curfew

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot is attempting to permanently instill a liquor sale curfew in Chicago that curtails retailers from selling alcohol after 10 p.m. The mayor set this proposal before the City Council on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

Chicago food marts and convenience stores will have to quit selling alcohol at 10 p.m. under an indefinite restriction, comprised of an extensive pandemic recovery initiative revealed by Mayor Lightfoot on Wednesday.

The injunction will stop selling bottled and canned liquor goods within the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. except for Sunday, when sales resume at 8 a.m. The plan would initiate an end to liquor stores staying open into the wee hours of the morning, even though sales would begin several hours earlier on Sundays — the standard hours for liquor sales on Sunday is 11 a.m.

LiquorCity officials started the generally unwanted 9 p.m. alcohol curfew in April 2020, stating the action was required to stop people from congregating outside during the pandemic. The mayor reinstated the order in October because of a second ripple of the coronavirus.

Currently, Lightfoot is attempting to make the restriction permanent. She submitted this proposal Wednesday at a City Council hearing as part of a combination of changes city hall said will assist businesses to bounce back from the pandemic.

The Mayor’s Office stated in a news conference:

This proposed removal of late-night liquor sales will address the safety of the citizens and annoyance issues by restricting the nighttime sale of alcoholic beverages.

Lightfoot initiated the curfew in April 2020, and the intention was meant to “protective” in the midst of the pandemic. Business owners that failed to abide by this rule would be in danger of penalties, jail time, and losing their liquor license.

At an April 8, 2020, news conference, Lightfoot explained:

Too many people have been gathering in front of stores that trade alcohol, especially at night.

Lightfoot is advocating for a permanent restriction as Chicago reopens, Covid cases decline, and more citizens get their vaccinations.

On Wednesday afternoon at a news briefing, the mayor stated she desires this change because individuals lingering outside stores create “quality-of-life problems” for residents.

The goal is to find a balance between retailers that sell packaged alcoholic and the issues surrounding the actual welfare of others. Late-night liquor sell poses a great problem when people are loitering outside these establishments. These after-hour gatherings also produce other problems such as illegal dealings, says Lightfoot.

Lightfoot asked if there was any research that indicated those problems decreased behind the previous alcohol regulations. Rather, the city government received records of poor performers.

Even though a change has been requested, City Council approval would need to occur to go into effect.

Written by Sharri Rogers
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware


Block Club Chicago: 10 PM Liquor Sale Curfew in Stores Would Be Permanent Under Lightfoot Plan; by Kelly Bauer
Chicago Sun-Times: Proposed 10 p.m. curfew on retail booze sales will ‘kill smaller businesses,’ some say; by Tom Schuba, Satchel Price, and Fran Spielman

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