West Hollywood, a city widely known for its lively nightlife scene, is one step closer to keeping the party going and the booze flowing for a couple hours longer.
In a 3-2 vote on Monday, the West Hollywood City Council voted to adopt a pilot program that would extend alcohol sales from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. at bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, Fox Los Angeles reports.
The pilot program is part of Senate Bill 930, a measure introduced by State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) earlier this month. West Hollywood is one of seven cities that asked to be included in the five-year pilot program, including Coachella, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Oakland, San Francisco, and Fresno.
The legislation is still pending, but if approved, local municipalities will be able to decide whether to implement it. City officials would also have the discretion to limit those extended hours to certain neighborhoods or streets, specific days of the week, or during special events only.
“For too long, we’ve had a one-size-fit-all rule that all alcohol service should end at 2 a.m.,” Weiner said during a recent news conference, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We know nightlife is so incredibly important for our culture and for our economy. When you think of why people move to cities, one of them is that they want to have a vibrant nightlife, be able to have fun and enjoy themselves.”
Critics of the measure have argued that extending the last call would likely cause safety and noise problems.
“I know we always say, look, if you go live by the Rainbow District, then you already knew what you were buying into. But what you were buying into was a 2 a.m. closing time,” Mayor Pro Tem Sepi Syne, who voted against the measure, said during Monday’s meeting, according to Wehoville. “We already have issues of safety; we have nightlife safety that we’re trying to figure [out]. We’re still trying to figure out issues with druggings. Increasing the time of bars being open to 4 a.m. in my opinion is too much for our residents.”
During public comment, one resident said, “Who’s gonna look after all these extra drunks at 4 am? What, are we getting into bed at seven? Now please please, please do not do this,” Wehoville reports. “We don’t need people from all over the rest of Los Angeles County coming here to get smashed.”
Advocates say the extended hours could help the city financially. In a statement issued earlier this month, Wiener said the legislation is designed to help nightlife establishments that have struggled throughout the COVID pandemic.
“I feel like a lot of employees could benefit from making more money in that after-hours area just because there’s so much money to be made in nightlife,” Shania Johnson, a professional dancer, told Fox Los Angeles. “I feel like more people start to go out after midnight so why would we stop serving at 2 a.m., especially when all the big cities like New York, Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas, all of them are open ’til 4 a.m.”
Olivia Paulson told the news station, “I DJ in West Hollywood at all these bars, I do notice that people stay out very late and come out very late so I know the bars would benefit a lot from it.”
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