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City Commission Punts On 3 A.M. Bar Closure

Erich Martin

Tallahassee Commissioners will reconsider bar hours…in September.  The commission will consider a three a.m. closing time after a vote earlier in the year to extend the hours to four in the morning.

Tallahassee Commissioner Gil Ziffer asked to reconsider a vote to extend the hours in the wake of a mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub last month. And commissioner Nancy Miller says some clubs are still serving alcohol at that time—a violation of the rules.

“At this point, I don’t have the confidence that it’s still ok to let the clubs and bars stay open until 4 o’clock. Under the promise that they’re no longer serving alcohol after 2[a.m.].”

Ziffer says later closing times could result in more calls to police.

“We have a crime problem in the city of Tallahassee. I don’t think we really want to dedicate our TPD officers to go around enforcing 2 a.m.to 4 a.m. And DBPR has made it clear to us they’re not going to investigate anything until TPD refers them. And if TPD isn’t referring anything then DBPR is sitting there going ‘we got nothing to enforce'. That’s a problem," Ziffer said.

DBPR is the Department of Businesses and Professional Regulation, which issues liquor licenses. Mayor Andrew Gillum says he hasn't seen Ziffer's concerns materialize.

Florida A&M University, Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College have issued a joint letter calling for earlier bar closures. But the bars can continue staying open until 4 a.m. for now.  Miller is asking to move the closing time to 3 am. The proposal will be considered in September.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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