November 17, 2017

Worcester implements new rules for night club crowds, drinking

Grant Welker
Worcester City Hall as seen from Allen Court across Franklin Street.

Worcester bars and nightclubs will be subject to new regulations intended to crack down on underage drinking and fights at the city's licensed alcohol establishments.

The new rules, though classified by the city's Assistant Chief Development Officer Stephen Rolle as minor changes, require establishments to better control large crowds, provide security training to employees, and better control underage drinking.

The new regulations were sparked after incidents involving fights, overcrowding and underage drinking, Rolle said.

Initial regulations proposed by a working group of city officials, Rolle said, may have gone too far. The proposal was reduced to encourage nightlife, a vibrant business community and a vibrant entertainment community, he said.

The new rules include:

  • A requirement of a certified crowd manager for establishments with a license for more than 99 occupants and another crowd manager for every 250 occupants.
  • The crowd manager's certificate must be kept at the establishment and submitted to the License Commission.
  • The crowd manager must fill out a checklist every day the business is open and keep those documents on file for at least three years.
  • Establishments must comply with the state building code, including occupancy limits, access to exit requirements and sprinkler system requirements.
  • Any establishment allowing people under the age of 21 to enter after midnight must submit a plan to the License Commission detailing how they will be identified and prohibited from drinking alcohol.
  • If such violations occur, the License Commission can restrict admission of people under 21.
  • Such establishments must have security personnel during all hours of operations. Those employees must undergo a full background check and notify the License Commission of any security employees.
  • Live entertainment and dancing must be confined to designated areas provided in applications to the License Commission.
  • If holding a promoted event, a business must notify the License Commission and Worcester Police Department at least 14 days prior to the event.

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