NYC’s antiquated “cabaret law” may be dead, but other Prohibition-era laws still haunt city bar owners

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Earlier this month, New York City Council voted to repeal a Prohibition-era “cabaret law,” which prohibited dancing in bars — and was used to allegedly discriminate against minorities. But ever some 84 years since the repeal of Prohibition other laws intended to ban or curb drinking and enforce public morality are still on the books.

While most of these old laws are rarely enforced, they can be used to selectively target city bar owners, politicians and small business owners say.

“There are a lot of impediments to small businesses here in New York,” state Sen. Patrick Gallivan, a Republican who previously served as Erie County sheriff, told Newsweek. For instance, last year lawmakers rolled back a law that prevented restaurants and bars from serving alcohol before noon on Sundays.

Gallivan added that he hopes the city will “continue cutting regulation and red tape on businesses so that they can succeed. This law is just one step, and we have a lot more work to do.”

While Newsweek did not get into the nitty gritty regarding which exact laws local politicians are hoping to roll back, it is heartening to know that the tides of public opinion are for once on the side of the bar keep. [Newsweek]

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