Urging residents to celebrate with moderation, city officials announced today that they were asking South Boston liquor stores to cut another hour off the time they will be open on the day of the big St. Patrick's Day parade in that neighborhood.
Officials said they were asking the stores to close their doors at 4 p.m. For the past four years, the stores were asked to close their doors at 5 p.m. The normal Sunday night closing time is 6 p.m., said Patricia Malone, director of the Mayor's Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing.
Bars in the area are also being asked to stop accepting new patrons at 6:30 p.m., stop serving at 7 p.m., and send all patrons home by 7:30 p.m., as they have been for the past four years, Malone said.
"We're suggesting and we're hoping that they'll cooperate with us," said Malone. "We're asking them to partner with the city and saying it would be greatly appreciated." She said the city has always gotten the businesses' cooperation.
City officials said police would increase patrols, focusing not only on the Sunday parade, but also on bars on St. Patrick's Day, which falls on Thursday, and throughout the weekend.
Officials said police would check bars and streets, especially in areas frequented by large numbers of college students. They noted that students arrested will not only face criminal charges, they will be subject to penalties from their institutions.
Officials also noted that police would be cracking down on drunken driving.
"We are working hard to provide a festive, fun, and family-friendly atmosphere and we ask that everyone celebrate responsibly to contribute to a positive and welcoming environment for all," Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a statement.
Police Commissioner Edward Davis said officials "expect a peaceful and enjoyable weekend. We are working closely with members of the South Boston community to create an event that is designed for families."
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