Could bars in Michigan get a new closing time?
Some state lawmakers want to make it so bars can stay open until 4 a.m. – that is when bars reopen, since most are still closed due to pandemic restrictions. Lawmakers voted 77-27 to approve House Bill 4213.
Right now, closing time at Michigan bars is 2 a.m. More time to serve customers means more revenue. It's another way bars can fight to stay in business after being hit hard by the shutdown.
Support for the bill is growing as it was just passed in the Michigan House.
“It’s been a pretty challenging 2020 obviously," said Justin Winslow.
Justin Winslow with the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association says the entire industry has been hard due to the pandemic. Especially for bar owners, after Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s execute order closed indoor service for bars.
But could last call at 4 a.m. help?
That’s something we could see here in Michigan.
With the new bill, cities, townships and villages can have the option to allow their local bars to stay open another two hours.
If closing time was changed from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m in a community, bar owners would have to apply for a late night permit with the state and pay an annual fee of $250.
This isn’t the first time a bill like this was introduced, but it gained support amid the shutdown when it was introduced again back in June.
It passed in the state House Thursday.
While it’s a promising sign for bar owners, it’s unclear when they will even be able to fully open.
And with colder temperatures around the corner, industry experts are concerned some of the bars will permanently close.
“As the season changes here, it’s going to be exceptionally challenging in this industry through fall and winter months," said Winslow.
The bill must go through the state Senate and be signed by the governor to take effect.
View the full bill below: