Suburban Forest Park Institutes Curfew on Bars, Restaurants

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A Chicago suburb has taken an unusual action, instituting a curfew for bars and restaurants that it hopes will curb rowdy behavior, but some business owners fear that the policy will negatively impact their bottom lines.

The decision comes after a growing number of incidents, some of which turned violent, occurred in suburban Forest Park. Police Chief Tom Aftanas says that there were increasing complaints from residents about excessive noise and physical altercations, especially from those that live near Madison Street.

“In March and April alone we issued more than 75 local ordinance citations,” he said. “(Mostly) for fighting, loud noise, loud music, and public urination.”

In response to those complaints, a curfew has been put in place for at least one month. For the next 30 days, all bars and restaurants in the suburb must close at 11 p.m. Restaurants will be allowed to go back to their regular closing times on June 15, while bars may be limited in their hours all the way through Labor Day.

“This was only done for public safety. Our goal is to get some solutions as quickly as possible,” Aftanas said.

Some bar and restaurant owners spoke out forcefully against the policy change, saying that it could impact their bottom lines in a way that hour limitations did during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have lots of bars, and (lots of) people who are quiet and respectful of the neighbors,” Slainte Irish Pub owner David Andrade said. “Will this come back? Will our crowd come back? Nobody knows.”

Aftanas says that officials will visit with bar and restaurant owners to discuss the new policy, but said that the curfew is expected to stay in effect for the time being.

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