Late night curfew for businesses could expand outside of Kensington to other areas of Philly

The curfews would limit hours at what council members say are often nuisance businesses that disrupt their neighbors.

Stormy Philadelphia skyline at sunset

Philadelphia skyline at Sunset (Ashley Hahn/PlanPhilly)

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Two more City Council districts could soon implement a business curfew as part of an ongoing effort to eliminate what council members say is a safe harbor for overnight crime in Philadelphia.

The plan is similar to an effort approved for the Kensington section of the city, where businesses would not be able to stay open late to stop people hanging around outside.

Councilmembers Cindy Bass and Mike Driscoll have introduced late-night curfews for businesses in the 8th and 6th districts. Driscoll said the goal is to reduce quality of life crime.

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“It’s reasonable because the ones that seem to be operating late seem to be doing some things that may not be according to the norms,” he said.

Businesses with a food establishment or restaurant liquor license are exempted from the bill.

Driscoll said he hopes this is only a temporary measure to keep nuisance businesses from operating late at night.

“I just hope it’s a short-term tool to get control of some areas that are misbehaving, but we’re hoping it’s not something that’s going to translate to the whole city,” he said. “Hopefully, we get this under control, and maybe someday we just reverse them.”

Cindy Bass has long been a crusader against so-called “stop and gos” where people can pick up a limited alcohol selection, single cigarettes and other things late at night.  Bass has fought against the liquor licensees with tables set up just for show, and limited food offerings to comply with state regulations for restaurants and bars.

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The expanded curfew will soon be the subject of council committee hearings and a full vote of council before being sent to the mayor for review.

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