HUDSON -- The city of Hudson once again extended its early bar and restaurant close on weekends for an additional two weeks at its Tuesday, Jan. 19. meeting.
The ordinance has been in place since Dec. 10, and council members have advocated for baby steps toward returning to normal hours.
In one of those steps, the close time has been pushed back to 11 p.m. Earlier this month the council also voted to remove Thursday early close.
Why close bars early?
The order first went into place following an increasing amount of violent crimes in the downtown area that came as crowds of Minnesotans flocked in the border town as that state’s bars and restaurants were closed due to COVID-19 concerns.
Minnesota establishments are now open at 50% capacity with a close time at 10 p.m.
Police Chief Geoff Willems recommended extending the ordinance.
“It makes me very nervous to go too late into the night with Minnesota closing at 10 o’clock,” he said. “Because I don’t have a crystal ball, but I know people and I know if you give people an opportunity they’re going to seize it.”
The chief said he was comfortable moving the close time back to 11 p.m. on weekends. Thursday nights have also not seen issues following the transition back to normal close those days.
What comes next?
The city will continue to reassess every couple of weeks, Mayor Rich O’Connor said. Knowing the timing of how the issue will continue to be handled will help businesses, Chamber President Mary Claire Olson Potter said, as they can’t ramp up staff overnight.
Minnesota’s actions will likely impact the length of the ordinance.
“As much as their rules and regulations don’t govern us, we are greatly impacted by the fact that we are a border town,” Council Member Sarah Atkins Hoggatt said.
The council will review the ordinance again at its Feb. 1 meeting.