Proposed Henderson ordinance seeks to cap downtown business hours

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HENDERSON, N.C. (WNCN) — Small business owners are pushing back against the city council as they consider a proposed ordinance that would restrict business hours.

The ordinance would force businesses to close by 10 p.m. during the week, and midnight during the weekend.

After a career in the Navy, Anthony Ragland says he is determined to bring a taste of the outside world to his hometown.

“I’m trying to promote a smoothe laid back area so everybody can come,” said Anthony Ragland. “I play jazz all during the day. In any major city, you want nightlife. You want something to do and have fun, so we’re trying to do that in Henderson.”

However, the failures of past businesses in the historic downtown area could be coming back to haunt the area moving forward.

“Different people had tried to make nightclubs, and it brought problems downtown,” said Ragland. “They’re trying to put a curfew downtown.”

In North Carolina alcohol can legally be served until 2 a.m., so CBS 17 asked Henderson Mayor Eddie Ellington why the city council is considering restricting business hours downtown.

“The last five businesses downtown have started off as restaurants and then they use that to transform into nightclubs and lounges,” said Henderson Mayor Eddie Ellington. “We’ve had a string of violence in Henderson and Vance Co. and the citizens have asked, what is the city going to do about this?”

“They want to close us down and have a curfew, but we could open a diner that stays open 24/7 or a grocery store that stays open 24/7 downtown,” said Ragland. “That could bring more to the downtown area.”

“Several incidents have occurred with fighting, shooting, property damage, loud music, gunshots, and even gun injuries,” said Ellington. “We want to put this in place and try and curb that and provide a safe downtown for the citizens of Henderson.”

Mayor Ellington says any businesses already open in downtown Henderson would be grandfathered into their existing hours.

The Henderson City Council has tabled the ordinance but is expected to discuss it during their September meeting.

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