Hoping to alleviate a rash of crimes after bar closing downtown, Minneapolis officials have reached agreements with several clubs to stop hosting under-21 events on Sunday nights.
Simultaneously, the mayor and City Council members are devising new city ordinances that will give regulators more power to put conditions on liquor licenses. The issue has garnered City Hall's attention this summer after a number of shootings near downtown clubs in the early morning hours.
"There is too much stuff going on downtown that is beyond what we believe is acceptable," Mayor R.T. Rybak said at a press conference. "So we're taking some very tough action."
The verbal agreements with several clubs -- that were not named -- include the following stipulations: Stop hosting under-21 events on Sunday nights. Use "enhanced" wristbands to identify young people at under-21 events. Employ uniformed security and off-duty police officers. Conduct background checks for all staff members.
Council Member Don Samuels said the agreements target a "small cohort of club owners that are not operating their businesses...responsibly enough."
Council President Barb Johnson said the council plans to introduce new city ordinances tomorrow that will give city licensing staff more tools to put conditions on both liquor licenses and non-liquor establishments. The exact language will not immediately be available.
"Businesses that do not follow conditions of their license will risk losing them," Johnson said.
Grant Wilson, the city's head of business licensing, said the new rules would allow the City Council to mandate conditions on licenses, rather than reach an agreement with the business owner and the license holder.
"We are going to be using these ordinances as ways to target our efforts," said Council Member Elizabeth Glidden, who is authoring the ordinances. "We are going to be able to on more of a case-by-case basis provide unique restrictions that are targeted to the problems at some of these businesses. And we mean business."