Even amidst a pandemic, the government is still trying to pick winners and losers in our economy. Over the past few months, restaurants and bars have been subject to burdensome regulations, with little notice and expected to “make it work.” Businesses that were willing and able to comply with health and safety guidelines were met with mandated closures and severely limited in hours of operation. When given permission to re-open, more restrictions ensued, and many businesses found it difficult to turn a profit. During this health and economic crisis, it’s time to reevaluate unnecessary regulations that are hurting people now to help pave the way for a stronger economic recovery.
Recently, the Fargo City Commission placed a downtown business on suspension and presented the business with fines if they wished to remain open. The bar, who is known for their specialty drinks and unique twist on shareable foods, only reached 48% food sales, their license requires 50%. In a recent Facebook post, the bar attributed market prices for food versus their one-of-a-kind handmade drinks for the 2% shortfall.
While businesses were closing due to the government restrictions, this business found a way to remain open. This business is meeting market demands in our community, but burdensome liquor restrictions are forcing them to operate differently. This is just another example of the very real impact government regulation and red tape has on peoples’ lives and livelihoods.
The Fargo City Commission needs to re-evaluate liquor licenses and other burdensome regulations with citizen input and repeal those that do not effectively lessen real problems facing the community. As the pandemic subdues and normalcy is restored, the Commission must take a deeper look at the law and decide whether these restrictions are for public safety or economic benefit.
Christiansen, Fargo, is a grassroots engagement director for Americans for Prosperity/North Dakota.