Toronto bars could open earlier for gold, bronze medal hockey games
Chris Kitching, CP24.com
Published Thursday, February 13, 2014 9:03AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 13, 2014 12:45PM EST
A Toronto councillor wants the city to allow bars and restaurants to begin serving alcohol a few hours earlier than usual when the gold and bronze medal hockey games are held at Sochi 2014.
The men’s and women’s medal round games are being held as early as 7 a.m. local time – four hours before licensed establishments are allowed to sell booze – and Coun. Mike Layton is asking council to approve a motion that would relax the existing rules for places where people are gathering to watch.
At next week's meeting, council is expected to debate and vote on the motion to allow bars and restaurants to open at 6 a.m. over the final four days of Sochi 2014.
Layton said he considered the idea after someone sent him a tweet asking if the city was planning to allow early alcohol sales like it has for past events, including soccer’s World Cup.
If the motion passes, booze will be served early, regardless of how the Canadian men and women fare. The women are in the semifinals and are guaranteed a shot at a medal. The men played their first game Thursday.
The women's bronze and gold medal games will take place Feb. 20 at 7 a.m. and noon, respectively. In men's hockey, the bronze medal game is Feb. 22 at 10 a.m. and the gold medal game is Feb. 23 at 7 a.m.
Layton doesn’t think the move would promote alcohol consumption because he doubts many people would belly up to the bar that early in the morning.
“I don’t imagine that folks are going to be taking advantage of it at seven in the morning but when that third period hits and it’s 10:30 (a.m.), just before the restaurants and bars can start serving alcohol, I don’t see any harm in that,” Layton told CP24.
Fords, Kelly support motion
Mayor Rob Ford appeared on the Z103.5 morning show Thursday and he said he supports the motion because it would be good for business, but drinking at 6 a.m. would be “pretty rough.”
Layton’s motion also has the support of Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly.
“You’re either invested in the hockey supremacy in Canada or you’re not,” Kelly told CP24 reporter Katie Simpson. “I don’t know how many people will take advantage of it but for that short period of time and for that purpose I’m for it.”
Coun. Doug Ford said he is all for the motion because it is a chance for Torontonians to gather and watch the games together.
He doesn’t think many people will be lining up for a pint in the middle of the morning, however.
“It doesn’t mean people are going to be drinking at six o’clock in the morning,” he said. “If someone is drinking at six o’clock in the morning, maybe they have other issues.”
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