2 a.m. bar close for Republicans

A bill that would have allowed bars to stay open later during the Republican National Convention was pulled from consideration the same day it was introduced earlier this week. While later bar closings would have resulted in economic gain, we are grateful it was pulled for the safety and security of the metro area.

The bill, supported primarily by Sen. Linda Sheid, DFL-Brooklyn Park, would have allowed bars in the seven-county metro area to stay open until 4 a.m. from Aug. 29 through Sept. 8. The convention itself will be held at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul Sept. 1 through 4, but the bill intended to cater to the estimated 35,000 visitors who may come early or stay late for additional business or to enjoy the Minnesota State Fair which ends Labor Day, among other Minnesota attractions.

According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the GOP convention will bring nearly $150 million in new spending along with 2,800 jobs.

Apparently, drinking establishments are another of the Twin Cities’ key attractions that could bring in some extra revenue during the convention. However, extending bar close to 4 a.m. would be hypocritical and would likely stretch our security forces too thin.

State law requires bars to close at 2 a.m. for significant reasons: safety and security. Extending this by two hours temporarily would throw many industries for a loop, especially hospitality (including bars, restaurants and hotels), transit (taxis and public) and police.

Police will already be working hard to secure the area around the convention which will be full of attendees, protesters and a few regular Minnesotans.

In an area where liquor stores aren’t open on Sundays, and legislators want to limit bars’ abilities to have drink specials, the bill would have also been extremely hypocritical of legislators, if passed.

We too look forward to the excitement that the GOP Convention will afford, but we aren’t ready to risk our safety over it, and we are grateful that the Legislature isn’t ready either.