By Ivan Raconteur
Bar patrons raising a celebratory glass have recently raised concerns in Lester Prairie, where there have been reports of the activity taking place at inappropriate times and places.
Lester Prairie Police Chief Bob Carlson said the department has issued several warnings, but the problems have continued. The department now plans to strictly enforce the city ordinances related to bar hours and public consumption of alcohol.
During liquor license renewal interviews, Carlson discussed these concerns with each license holder.
The first ordinance addresses the hours of sale, and states that no intoxicating liquors shall be sold or served during prohibited hours.
The ordinance also states that no one who is not the owner or employee of a licensed establishment shall be allowed to remain on the premises at any time later than 30 minutes after closing time, and, in any event, no person shall consume any intoxicating liquors in any licensed premises later than 30 minutes after closing.
The Lester Prairie Police Department, with assistance from the McLeod County Sheriff’s Office, will be entering establishments if they have reason to believe this ordinance is being violated.
The other ordinance states that no person shall mix, prepare, or consume any intoxicating liquor or non-intoxicating malt liquor on any public place in the city, including, but not limited to streets, alleys, sidewalks, parks, parking areas, and public buildings.
Exceptions will only be allowed with a special use permit from the city council.
In cases where a permit is issued, the council will set forth all terms and conditions it deems appropriate, including types of beverages that may be consumed, hours during which beverages may be consumed, and places where consumption is allowed. The council may also impose other conditions, including requiring police supervision.
Carlson made it clear that the use of “to go” cups, and walking from one bar to another with an alcoholic beverage in hand will result in citation or arrest.
The ordinances were amended in 1991, when the city cracked down on these issues in response to numerous complaints from residents.