New bill could enforce curfew for more Philadelphia businesses

More Philadelphia neighborhoods could be following in Kensington's footsteps after some businesses were required to shut their doors by 11 p.m. back in March.

A council member in Mount Airy and West Oak Lane is pushing for a similar curfew in an effort to curb what he calls "bad, late-night behavior."

"This is a very preventative measure, but it’s also about preserving the quality of life," Philadelphia City Councilmember Anthony Phillips explained to one Ogotnz Avenue business owner.

The new bill would set a midnight curfew for businesses from 66th Street to Cheltenham Avenue.

It comes after Phillips says residents of Mount Airy and West Oak Lane voiced complaints about nuisance behavior.

"We have watched and witnessed business owners allowing loitering to take place, smoking to take place, dumping to take place and they’re not calling 3-1-1, City Council offices and they’re not calling police. Why? Because it’s some of their clientele and some of them are also afraid."


The bill would impact businesses like Cali and Rodriguez mini markets, which are currently open 24 hours a day.

"Maybe a little more police patrol," customer John Ricketts said. "That might help."

Ricketts says he visits Rodriguez Mini Market regularly, and he’s never seen the alleged nuisance activity. He thinks shutting the business down overnight would do the community a disservice.

"I would not bother or disturb this store, because this store really serves a lot of people," he said. "A lot come here from a lot of different neighborhoods knowing they can come here, it’s open, they can eat."

Gas stations, restaurants with liquor licenses and drive-thrus would be exempt from the curfew. 

"That’s why I don’t come outside," Shanita Starr said. "I don’t know what goes on in particular places, but I don’t come outside. It’s too dangerous out here."

While some business owners on the strip support the proposed change, Councilmember Phillips knows it will not be supported by all. 

"What I say to businesses that may not be happy about it, ‘Be a resident in this area where you have to deal with loud music, have to see drugs walking across the street.'"

Councilmember Phillips says his goal is to see this bill passed ahead of the July 4th holiday so that it will take effect as summer starts to heat up.