N.Y.C. Mayor Repeals Prohibition-Era Dancing Ban, 91-Years-Later

Prohibition in the United States took place from 1920-1933 outlawing alcohol consumption. Now, 91-years-later, another Prohibition-era law is coming to an end in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio finally signed legislation officially lifting the city’s ban on dancing at the majority of its bars.

“It’s 2017, and this law just didn’t make sense. Nightlife is a part of the New York melting pot that brings people together,” De Blasio said in a press release on Monday. “We want to be a city where people can work hard, and enjoy their city’s nightlife without arcane bans on dancing.”

Before De Blasio, New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani passed on changing the ban, using the laws to diminish nightlife in the city.

The “cabaret laws,” first went into effect in 1926 to crack down on dancing and speakeasies. Under the law, it was technically illegal to dance at a bar unless it possessed a cabaret license. CBS reports that only 104 out of the city’s 20,000 restaurants and bars have that license.

The repeal passed through the N.Y. city council at the end of October. Int. 1652-A, repeals all aspects of the ban except for two safety requirements.

Now, establishments that originally needed a cabaret license to operate must continue to abide by the requirements.

Also, establishments must install and maintain security cameras. If the establishment employs security guards, the law ensures that security guards are licensed pursuant to state law. Establishments must keep a roster of the guards they employ.

In September, De Blasio announced the creation of a new Office of Nightlife overseen and organized by the “Night Mayor,” who aims to ensure entertainment venues aren’t over-policed in New York City.

“We look forward to supporting New York’s storied nightlife, to harnessing the creative entrepreneurial spirit that defines our city, and ensuring that establishments can operate in a way that keeps all New Yorkers safe and communities healthy,” Julie Menin, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment told Variety.

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