SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – From new closing times for bars to a liquor law unique to Shreveport, City Council has several decisions to make that will impact business, police, and patrons.

The council will decide on two ordinances scheduled for Tuesday. One will change the closing times for all bars outside of downtown, requiring them to close at 2 a.m. instead of 4 a.m. Another ordinance would get rid of the separation requirement of hard liquor inside stores.

Monday’s administrative meeting allowed the council to hear all sides of the issue and debate what they would do. Bar owners not present at the last meeting were there this time to oppose the new closing time ordinance. Some told the council if downtown bars can stay open until 6 a.m., their business should also be able to stay open that long, citing competition and customer safety concerns.

“Why should we be okay with the city taking money out of pockets for bar owners to shut down early and put it into our competitors’ pockets? So we would have to tell our patrons that we’re shutting down at 2 o’clock for them to get into their Ubers or cars and head downtown for the next watering hole, putting them in peril,” said one bar owner.

Councilman Jerry Bowman originally introduced the closing time ordinance to help the police department concentrate their patrol officers in just one downtown area. Between 2 and 6:00 a.m., officers would not need to travel back and forth to various bar locations across the city.

The council examines the stores’ requirement to sell hard liquor in the other ordinance. Shreveport city law currently requires businesses to have separate entrances for hard liquor. Some council members said this law is unique to Shreveport and not required in any other city in Louisiana or across the nation.

Councilmembers John Nickelson and Grayson Boucher introduced the ordinance to do away with it, citing how the police department is struggling to enforce it. Police Chief Wayne Smith said the law, enacted in 1994 and covering more than 700 businesses selling liquor in the city, is challenging to monitor. He says the department would like the law updated.

“This particular ordinance is causing us difficulty because for the past six or seven years, for quite some time, this has been on our radar, and attempts have been made to try and get the ordinance looked at and get it fixed because it puts us in the position where some businesses are able to operate, and some are not. The playing field does appear to be even and makes it difficult for us to enforce,” Chief Smith said.

Some liquor store owners came to the meeting to speak against changing the separation ordinance. They told the council if all stores start selling liquor, it will impact their revenue and employment.

“If ya’ll change this separation law and allow everybody to sell hard liquor, each and every one of you will have people in your district lose their jobs,” said one liquor store owner.

During the administrative meeting, the council debated whether to postpone the vote, allow temporary liquor licenses, or approve both ordinances. The vote is scheduled for Tuesday’s meeting.

Also on the agenda for Tuesday’s city council meeting is an ordinance introduced by Councilwoman LeVette Fuller to reduce the hours of alcohol sales for on-premise consumption in downtown Shreveport. It would change the current 10 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. any day of the week to 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tasting rooms for breweries would also be subject to the new hours.