As part of its State Advocacy Agenda, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is considering its position on SB 58 (Weiner) which would allow – but not require – ten qualified local governments including Los Angeles and West Hollywood to permit bars and nightclubs (but not liquor stores) to serve alcohol past 2 am and up to 4 am. The bill would align California with at least 15 other states where local jurisdictions have the authority to decide alcoholic beverage service hours. Historically, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has opposed attempts to extend the sale and serving of alcohol due to public safety concerns, echoed by the Los Angeles Police Department. By extending the hours of sale, LAPD will be required to add an additional working shift for officers. Currently, LAPD lacks the resources to implement a change of this scale.
Supporters of SB 58 maintain that extending alcohol serving hours would provide the state with a multitude of economic benefits and would not pose a threat to public safety. With this bill, California can attract more tourists, conventions, and conferences since its late night hospitality venues will be on par with other major cities. Supporters also contend that many communities will be able to individually determine whether extended hours will benefit their residents and businesses, allowing small-knit and suburban areas to keep restrictions in place while bigger cities, where nightlife is a major industry, can create more jobs and generate additional tax revenue by extending alcohol service hours. Those in favor of the bill also argue that, by extending alcohol serving hours, it will reduce drunk driving incidents due to additional “sober up” time.
Opponents of the bill claim it is a threat to public health and safety stating this bill will result in a higher rate of alcohol-related health problems and, subsequently, quality of life deterioration. Additionally, they argue that individuals will be tempted to drive while under the influence from bars that close earlier to bars with extended alcohol service hours. Consequently, an increase in alcohol-related incidents, including DUI accidents and fatalities, will occur.
Currently, California destination cities like Hollywood are at a disadvantage when competing with cities both nationally and internationally for tourists, conventions, and conferences. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce would like to hear how you feel about the extension of alcohol beverage service hours until 4 am.