A change of curfew recommendation has bar owners hopeful it will save their business

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Sedgwick County Commission is recommending to change the curfew for bars and nightclubs.

The county’s public health officer must approve that recommendation. If he does, it would mean one more hour of business for bars in Sedgwick County. 

Bar owners said though it’s not ideal, it’s a step in the right direction.

“We want to work together, but we also need to pay our bills,” said The Stop co-owner Alan Brinkman.

With more than six months of restrictions, Side Pocket owner Keith Unger said it’s been hard on business.

“I would like to know the theory that he’s using that the coronavirus is so much worse to stay open another couple hours,” said Unger.

Some bars even violated the order over the weekend by staying out until 2 a.m.

“We won’t push it, but we pushed it previously. It was volunteer because we wanted to, it was volunteering, and you know we still have to pay our bills,” said Brinkman.

If both Brinkman and Unger were given an extra hour, they said it would be a step in the right direction and that it would really help business. 

Brinkman said they don’t plan to push back on the restrictions.

District Attorney Marc Bennett said whether it will still be closing time at 11 p.m. or midnight, he will use his discretion when deciding if each case is viable. 

“If someone says I’m going to stand out and gather with 500 people and not wear masks and defy this order, because we’re looking to pick a fight, and is anybody going to do anything about that? The answer is we’ll see what the cops bring me,” said Bennett.

Both Brinkman and Unger said while an hour would be better for business now, they want full control of their hours soon.

“My hope is that we’re open to the hours that we want to, not what we’re being told what to do,” said Unger.

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