PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WTXF) - A controversial bill that aims to remove bulletproof barriers inside Philadelphia restaurants heads for a full council vote on Thursday, December 14.
The Public Health and Human Services Committee passed the bill in early December, enabling the city's Licenses and Inspections department to regulate the bullet-resistant barricade standing between customers and cash registers inside businesses commonly referred to as "Stop and Go's," which have seating for 30 customers or more.
The bill moving through city council is called the 'Stop and Go' bill and is being offered by City Councilwoman Cindy Bass.
"Right now, the Plexiglas has to come down," she said earlier this month.
The bill does not call for immediate removal, but instead gives L & I three years to formulate regulations for the use and removal of the barriers.
L & I says it will put together a diverse group of stakeholders to take part in that process.
Bass has said she wants to put some controls on these small stores that, from her point of view, sell booze, very little food and are a source of trouble for her district.
"We want to make sure that there isn't this sort of indignity, in my opinion, to serving food through a Plexiglas only in certain neighborhoods," Councilwoman Bass said.
Broad Deli owner Rich Kim resents the charge stores like his attract loiters and argues that calls to police are often met with a slow response.
"The most important thing is safety and the public's safety," Kim told FOX 29.
Kim's family has run the deli, which sells soda, snacks, meals and beer by the can, for 20 years. He says the glass went up after a shooting and claims it saved his mother-in-law from a knife attack. Now, he may be forced to take some of the barrier down.
"If the glass comes down, the crime rate will rise and there will be lots of dead bodies," he said.
Many of the 230 Asian beer deli owners feel as though they are being singled out and are among those protesting the bill.
What comes next for the city will follow the full council vote on Thursday.