Out of the whole state of California, three cities in the Coachella Valley are included in the “Bar Bill,” which would allow bars to extend their hours.
SB-58 known as the “Bar Bill” now has a slight change to it. Originally, it proposed giving bars the option to remain open until 4 a.m. Now, this bill has been amended to where bars could only gain one extra hour of business and stay open until 3 a.m.
News Channel 3 spoke with the Mayor of Cathedral City to hear his thoughts and also a bar owner who is weighing the pros and cons of extending his business hours if the bill gets signed by Governor Gavin Newsom.
“Being a resort town and being as many lounges as we have, I think it would be good to take advantage and stay current with local surrounding cities,” Mayor of Cathedral City, Mark Carnevale told News Channel 3 on Wednesday.
Cathedral City joins Palm Springs and the City of Coachella on a list of 10 total California cities that wouldn’t require bars to stay open until 3 a.m. but would allow them if they wanted too.
Also on the list, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, Sacramento, West Hollywood, San Francisco, and Fresno.
“Ten years ago this might not have been a good option for us, but given Lyft and Uber and responsible drinking and more awareness it’s more beneficial at this time,” Carnevale said.
One local restaurant and bar owner says he has mixed feelings about extending hours.
“As a business owner, it could definitely generate more money and bring in more tax dollars for the city so on that part I can see it being beneficial. The flip of the coin is that by 2 o’clock most people have already gone out and partied and historically they are pretty much ready to go home,” Owner of Henry’s Sports Bar and Grill, Carlos Lechuga said.
When asked if he plans on testing out a new closing time he said, “We’re still thinking about it,” “I know it’s been in the works and it’s something we have talked about, but we’ll see,” Lechuga added.
Lechuga is also thinking about keeping the restaurant part of his business open not only the bar.
“If we were to do something like that I think what we would probably do is sell food not just the alcohol,” Lechuga said.
The Mayor of Cathedral City says even if the “Bar Bill” goes into effect, he plans on putting the public’s safety first before anything gets implemented.
“Before we would implement it, we would bring staff together and the police department together and have a committee to see how this would benefit Cathedral City. Safety is first and foremost, so we would really need to reach out to the Chief of Police and his staff to see how he would like to move forward with it,” Carnevale said.
Until then, we wait for the Governor’s signature.
“It may be one thing that we try one day. Maybe once a month and see how it goes,” Lechuga said.
Lechuga also told us how extending hours would mean having to ash his employees to work longer, so he said, it’s definitely something he’ll have to think about before making any changes to his restaurant.
We also reached out to the Mayor of Coachella but didn’t get a response in time for this report.