Springfield bars may face earlier curfew - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Springfield bars may face earlier curfew

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Springfield bar owners could be forced to close their doors an hour earlier under a new proposal by Mayor Domenic Sarno.

The mayor and Springfield police are scheduled to speak before the License Commission on Wednesday.

Sarno says a recent decision to shut off all entertainment at 1 a.m. was a step in the right direction, but he wants to see more improvement.

Meanwhile bar owners say this will hurt their bottom line.

"To roll back the liquor license to 1 o'clock would be detrimental to my operation," said the owner of Samuel's Sports Bar, Eddie Grimaldi.

Grimaldi said if he has to close his doors at 1 a.m. instead of 2 a.m., he's looking at financial consequences.

"For us to survive with the changes that are being proposed, we would have to completely change the business model," he said.

Grimaldi says that about three quarters of his customers come from surrounding communities, and the earlier last call comes, the less likely it is they'll walk through these doors.

"They'll have to leave their communities, make a decision if they want to make a night out of it, they won't be able to. So if their goal is to make a night out of it, they'll just stay local," Grimaldi said.

Last year, bars whose income is based off less than 40 percent food service, were forced to shut off all forms of entertainment like TV and music at 1 a.m.

Sarno says it worked so well, they're pushing for more.

"The proof is in the pudding, you've seen that crime statistics have gone down in the areas that were trouble," Sarno said.

And he argues that the bars causing trouble are an unnecessary distraction for police.

"I have to continue sending the message that if you come to the city of Springfield you're going to have a good time and be safe and sound," Sarno said.

Grimaldi says his business shouldn't be punished for the mistakes of a few.

"There's no doubt that there's some bad apples that poison the well. If that's the case, I think a great argument can be made to target those locations and not the locations that have figured it out," Grimaldi said.

Grimaldi and other bar owners will get the chance to speak before the License Commission Wednesday.

The commission is not expected to make an immediate decision.

Copyright 2013 WSHM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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