PORT ALLEN –– Nightclubs and bars may be permitted to stay open just a little longer in the near future should the City Council approve a proposal by Councilman Irvrie Johnson.
But the extended hours won’t be used to sell alcoholic beverages; instead the extra time will be used by employees to clean up the establishments.
City and parish laws now force nightclubs to shut their doors at 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and at 10 p.m. on Sundays, and everyone, including the staff, must leave the premises at closing time.
In October 2011, city voters approved an amendment mandating nightspots shut down at 10 p.m. on Sunday. However, that measure contained special provisions allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages on Super Bowl Sunday, the Sunday before Memorial Day and Labor Day, and on the Fourth of July and New Year’s Day if they should fall on a Sunday.
But during recent committee meetings, Johnson asked the council to consider amending the city’s ordinance so that nightclub owners and their staff would have about an hour and a half to clean-up their establishments.
“They need time to clean their building and get it ready for the next day,” Johnson said. “A problem they were having was if the Board of Health would come by the following day to check the place out, they would find it to be filthy.”
Johnson said he tried to bring the matter before the council back in 2002 but failed to get the support he needed.
Most council members said they could support the extension, but added that bar owners may have to be given explicit stipulations to ensure they are following the law.
“Years ago, the city had a problem with nightclub owners drinking in their establishments after closing time and then grabbing a broom when police officers showed up,” Councilman Ralph Bergeron said at last week’s meeting.
Police Chief Ken Bates told the council as long as there is a minimal number of employees allowed in a bar or nightclub after hours, he didn’t think his officers would have any problems enforcing the changes the council makes.
The council is expected to revisit the issue during its meeting Wednesday after the city attorney has had a chance to review the proposal.