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Posted on: November 19, 2019

Council OKs 2 a.m. bar closing time

Liquor establishments in Minot now have the choice to remain open until 2 a.m. after the Minot City Council adopted an ordinance change at its Nov. 18 meeting.

The Council voted 4-3 to push back the required closing time for bars as allowed by state law. Council members Josh Wolsky, Shannon Straight, Shaun Sipma, and Paul Pitner voted for the change, while Lisa Olson, Stephan Podrygula, and Mark Jantzer voted against the extra hour.

Police Chief Jason Olson presented information to the Council on the peak hours for calls for service; currently 1 a.m. is among the busiest times of the day. Olson said current staffing levels were designed around the busiest times of the day, and the department would likely consider changing staffing levels to accommodate the likely increase in calls for service starting at 2 a.m. with the approved change.

The change was added to an ordinance change allowing on-sale alcohol purchases on Thanskgiving day.

Several liquor establishment owners spoke at the Council meeting, with most in favor of the change since it does not require establishments to remain open until 2 a.m., but provides the opportunity for those who choose to do so. One owner said he didn’t approve of the additional hour, but said his establishment would probably be open the extra hours because his competitors will likely be open.

“This is one of those areas where I would rather not see Minot any more restrictive of commerce than the state of North Dakota, so I simply want to put us in line with the state and what is becoming a more common closing time in the larger cities in North Dakota,” Wolsky said.

One resident who spoke at the meeting urged Council members to delay action on the proposal until they could do more research on the societal impacts, and to consider how extended bar hours might be counter-productive to the fight against addiction.

“Different people want different things, and it’s hard to know what the majority is and where we should be on it,” Jantzer said.

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