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Feb 09, 2022

I am disappointed over the announcement that local bars and restaurants will not receive approval for extended hours during the NBA All-Star Weekend.

We live in one of the greatest cities in the world and these events are a great opportunity to fully showcase our city. It is extremely important for the world to see us a vibrant, 24-hour city that is welcoming to our guests from around the world. This event is not only about hosting the best athletes in the world. But it will also make Cleveland the center of urban culture through education, music and entertainment. This event is also a great opportunity to support small businesses, bars and restaurants who have taken the brunt of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

We have hosted these events before and they’ve turned out flawlessly. Council passed legislation allowing extended hours for “hospitality” to 4 am for “major qualifying events” such as the Republican National Convention, MLB All-Star Game, and the Cavaliers Championship Parade.

I along with my colleagues in Leadership have shared our concerns with Mayor Bibb and his administration. He explained his decision making, which is the administration’s prerogative. The administration informed me and my colleagues that they had serious concerns about the health and safety of our residents, community stakeholders and visitors. We share those concerns. We talked with the administration about establishing long-term solutions so we will never have to be in this situation in the future and that we will continuously find ways to support our hospitality industry.

However, I believe in the people of Cleveland. I believe in our law enforcement. And yes, I believe in our businesses. Therefore, I’m extremely disappointed that we could not find a way to allow these bars and restaurants to have extended hours. Sixty received extended hours for the MLB All-Star Game and about 240 for the RNC. Although these events had different support from law enforcement the city still conducted these events in a safe and productive way.

I will continue to advocate for these extended hours because these businesses and the city of Cleveland deserve to benefit from the economic windfall that this event will bring to Cleveland. In the next few days,I will work with everyone who wants to help to promote and support our small bars and restaurants throughout the entire city. I encourage everyone to do the same.

I also want our residents to enjoy the vibrancy of a 24-hour city. The cost of the tickets is not affordable for many but being out potentially interacting with celebrities and their peers is something many would’ve considered historical. And yes, many of these events often don’t happen until extended hours after the games and activities end.

These establishments and our community have already experienced so much throughout the pandemic and the All-Star Weekend was a chance to bring things back to closer to normal. Many of them have ordered extra inventory, food, beer, wine and liquor, and prepared staff and hired more to serve both the visitors and residents out celebrating.

Once again, this is unfortunate, and I am disappointed. I will be meeting with these business owners over the next few days and continue to find ways to support them. Council stands by you and will do whatever is in our power and authority to support you through this moment.