Chicago Sun-Times - - POLITICS | CITY BEAT - BY FRAN SPIEL­MAN City Hall Re­porter Email: fspiel­man@ suntimes. com Twit­ter: @ fspiel­man

Peo­ple who stand out­side phar­ma­cies and con­ve­nience stores drink­ing cans of beer, con­tain­ers of wine and sin­gle- serv­ings of liquor may just have to go cold tur­key when the clock strikes mid­night.

Con­cerned about public drink­ing and the myr­iad prob­lems that come with it, the City Council’s Li­cense Com­mit­tee moved Wed­nes­day to shut off the spigot — not at restau­rants and bars, but at pack­age stores.

The or­di­nance would pro­hibit stores from sell­ing or giv­ing away “sin­gle con­tain­ers of wine or liquor that hold less than 25 fluid ounces or sin­gle con­tain­ers of beer or malt liquor that hold less than 41 fluid ounces” be­tween mid­night and 7 a. m.

Ald. Brian Hop­kins ( 2nd) said he in­tro­duced the or­di­nance to con­front a qual­ity- of- life is­sue.

“The later it gets, the more likely some­one buy­ing the sin­gle serv­ing is gonna sit there on the side­walk and con­sume it,” Hop­kins said.

“Then, you’ve got public in­tox­i­ca­tion, public uri­na­tion, fights, con­gre­ga­tions. This is in re­sponse to that.”

Hop­kins noted that sin­gle- serv­ings of beer, wine and liquor only costs a few bucks, en­cour­ag­ing pan­han­dling.

“They’ll sit in front of the re­tailer, wait un­til they col­lect enough money to buy one, drink it, then pan­han­dle an­other hour un­til they get money to buy a sec­ond one,” he said.

“This is gonna cut down on con­gre­gat­ing in front of the doors to stores, which can be in­tim­i­dat­ing to peo­ple.”

Ellen Hughes, who lives near the Belmont L, ap­plauded the crack­down.

“Af­ter mid­night, the peo­ple who want to get drunk and the crim­i­nals who want to rob them all show up to­gether,” she said.

“It would greatly in­crease our safety and im­prove our neigh­bor­hood if you would stop them from drink­ing af­ter mid­night.”

East Lake View res­i­dent Loretta Qui­jas whole­heart­edly agreed. Qui­jas said her 13- year- old daugh­ter shouldn’t have to “kick cans and bot­tles out of her way” on the walk to school each day.

“Once the sun goes down, you have to be trapped in your house for a cer­tain pe­riod of time. You don’t know what you’re gonna see . . . when you come out on the street the next day,” Qui­jas said.

Charles Wil­cox lives in the 2900 block of North Sh­effield. He’s tired of “liquor bot­tles fly­ing over the fence” and onto his lawn.

“Any lit­tle bit would help. If it was ex­tended even longer,” it would help more, Wil­cox said.

Lin­coln Park Ald. Michele Smith ( 43rd) signed on as a co- spon­sor of the af­ter- mid­night ban. Her ward in­cludes DePaul Univer­sity, which she said has “a lot of young peo­ple newly en­gaged in drink­ing.”

“We def­i­nitely need this or­di­nance to pro­tect peo­ple truly from the over- drink­ing that can hap­pen,” Smith said.

“We have a very well- reg­u­lated hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try. If there’s an is­sue of over- serv­ing, we have the means to work with [ City Hall] and po­lice to curb that. But in the pack­age good in­dus­try, there’s no cur­rent mech­a­nism to do that.”

West Side Ald. Michael Scott Jr. ( 24th) noted there are “a lot of bad ac­tors on the pack­age good side.”

But he won­dered aloud how the “very im­por­tant” or­di­nance would be en­forced.

He was told that en­force­ment would “pri­mar­ily fall to po­lice” be­cause the ban would be in ef­fect dur­ing overnight hours.

Ald. Brian Hop­kins

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