Q. What is the current time for last call in Carmi, and what would it change to?
A. Currently last call is at 11:30 p.m., and all patrons are required to leave by midnight. The proposals under discussion would extend it by a half hour to 12:00 a.m. for last call, and 12:30 a.m. for the last patron to be out.
Q. What are the advantages to extending last call?
A. One advantage is commercial, in that patrons will be more likely to stay in town for entertainment rather than going to other communities. This would make the hiring of bands for instance, more lucrative, as the longer an establishment is open, the better chance they have of recouping their investment in entertainment.
Q. Won’t this lead to more instances of driving under the influence?
A. It is hoped that this will lead to a reduction, as there will be less reason for patrons to leave Carmi and go to neighboring towns where they have a later last call. In addition to patrons being able to walk to and from an establishment, it’s much easier for someone to get a ride home when they are in Carmi, than Evansville or Grayville for instance.
Q. What guidelines will be in place covering drinking outside of restaurants and taverns?
A. While the ordinance has yet to be written, the discussion so far has suggested keeping alcohol limited to a fenced-in area. This will not only prevent minors from being served, but will reduce the ability for people to carry beverages outside the designated area.
Q. Why do we need more liquor licenses for restaurants issued in Carmi?
A. At the moment we don’t feel that we do. But should population increase, the possibility exists that new restaurants might wish to open here. Since alcoholic beverages account for much of the profit of restaurants, this would make Carmi a more attractive location to open.
Q. Won’t Sunday sales of alcohol make it harder for people who want to take the family out for Sunday lunch without having children being exposed to drinking?
A. The majority of the restaurants in Carmi don’t serve alcohol, and of those that do, not all will take advantage of the new ordinance. We feel that there will still be plenty of family-friendly options, as well as a handful of options for those who may wish to have an adult beverage with their meal.
Q. Will bars be allowed to serve alcohol on Sunday?
A. Only establishments with a restaurant liquor license will be allowed, and drinks must be served with meals. What we’re currently discussing requires revenue from drinks to be no more than 50% of that day’s total sales.
Q. Why do restaurants need Sunday sales of alcohol?
A. Sundays are typically the second highest day for restaurant sales. Currently many people go to other communities where alcohol is an option, as well as a larger variety of restaurants to choose from. We hope Sunday sales gives a boost in sales to locally owned restaurants, helping keep them in business. Additionally, should Carmi grow significantly in population, this will allow us to compete for other establishments. For example, most of the larger chain restaurants which serve alcohol, won’t consider locating in a town which does not allow Sunday sales.
Q. Isn’t this a done deal? Hasn’t the council already made up their mind to pass new ordinances?
A. False. The reason for this survey is to get a better idea of what the citizens of the community want. In addition to this, council members are polling their constituents, in some cases going door to door soliciting opinions. When the time comes to discuss final ordinances, and take a vote, the aldermen’s vote will be heavily influenced by the opinions of people in their ward.
Q. If the council passes these laws now, who is to say that they won’t pass a law next year loosening the ordinances even more?
A. The current ordinances have been on the books since 1982. Over the past thirty years, the needs of the people of Carmi, and the makeup of our citizens have changed. Currently there are several instances which people take for granted to be law, when in fact they are exemptions allowed by the mayor, who serves as liquor commissioner. This eliminates the need for that, so that establishments can better plan for special events, as well as better plan for their future. It is hoped that adjusting the ordinances now will eliminate the need for making further changes for many years, and help keep the bars, clubs and restaurants we have now in business.