Sidewalk curfew a strain on downtown restaurants

Some downtown Raleigh restaurant owners claim the city's new sidewalk curfew is a bust for business. The new rules took effect Friday, and the owners said they took a financial hit on day one.

"We've now seen our seating capacity basically cut in half," said Kenneth Yowell, who owns Calavera and Oak City Meatball restaurants. "We saw that we were down (at Calavera) 15 percent in sales from the previous Friday. At Oak City Meatball, we were actually down 22 percent."

Yowell said customers leave when the one o'clock cutoff takes effect.

"When you tell somebody that they have to pick up their food, pick up their drink, and suddenly have to move inside, it's more likely that they don't move inside," he said. "It's more likely that they go ahead and close out and move on to somewhere else,"

The Raleigh City Council passed the ordinance after receiving dozens of complaints from about crowded sidewalks, trash, and noise. The ordinance narrowly passed 5-to-3.

Folks living at The Sir Walter Apartments on Fayetteville Street told ABC11 they appreciate the new rules. The senior center is between several establishments. This weekend, the extra police presence helped residents sleep better.

"They were walking and standing in front of the bars," said resident Allen Jackson.

"Their presence alone was enough to make them calm down and not be as rowdy or loud as they may have been in the past," said another resident, Preston Foster.

Police said they aren't sure how many officers and other city employees were on hand enforcing the new rules.

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