Businesses and police brace for bars to return to pre-pandemic hours

Posted at 9:38 PM, Jun 01, 2021

(WXYZ) — As bars return to serving alcohol until 2 a.m. once again, there's the promise of businesses in Michigan getting back to normal.

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So many people from restaurant and bar workers, to customers, to law enforcement, are impacted by bars staying open until 2 a.m. It’s something they’re opening up about on a big day for Michigan.

“It’s a lot of mental preparation on what the work shifts look like. It’s a lot of bringing new people in that have energy and are excited to take that on,” said Michael Davis, general manager at Social Kitchen.

Davis is a seasoned veteran of the business of running restaurants and bars. He says for his staff and customers in downtown Birmingham, the chance to now stay open until 2 a.m. feels:

“Short answer: amazing," he said. "Something we’ve been looking forward to. We understand the reasons why we’ve had restrictions and it’s been top of our mind to have guest safety.”

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They've followed all the state's protocols and then some, now the focus shifts to making sure the thriving night hot-spot will be able to accommodate another four hours of service.

"Our kitchen is staffing up more," Davis said. "We are buying a lot more food and alcohol to make sure we don’t run out. It’s anticipating the crowds.”

And also anticipating crowds is Sgt. Robert Negri with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office. Among his 21 years on the force, many have been spent locking up drunk drivers who've had too many drinks and gotten behind the wheel. Come later tonight, he and other deputies are on the prowl for those driving impaired.

“The driver may sit too long and it’s green at a light or late to make a turn, or doesn’t use a signal to make a turn,” Sgt. Negri said.

Statistics gathered by the sheriff's office indicate from January to May 2019, 255 people were arrested from operating under the influence. The number dipped to 177 in 2020, only to ramp back up to 211 this year with more people out and about.

“As we return to normal it’s great to go have a good time," Sgt. Negri said. "If you’re going to drink, just don’t drive. There’s so many others options like Uber and Lyft.”

If you are intoxicated and don't have your phone with you or a friend to help you home, Michael Davis with Social Kitchen says to ask the bar staff to call a ride for you. They'll do it, no questions asked.