Chinatown businesses look at banning alcohol for First Friday

Published  7:00 AM HST Jan 08, 2013
First Friday
HONOLULU -

Chinatown businesses are set to look at the possibility of banning alcohol during the First Friday festivities and the public is being asked to weigh in on the subject.

The First Friday event, held on the first Friday of every month in Downtown Honolulu and Chinatown, were started a few years ago to help bring life and art back into the district.

However, growing concern by residents over alcohol-related issues has some calling for a ban.

Residents in the Chinatown area have gathered more than 500 signatures urging city officials to examine the issue.

Chu Lan Shubert Kwock of the Chinatown Business and Community Association started the petition in hopes of getting the attention of the mayor and city council.

She says the First Friday event was supposed to promote culture and the arts, but instead has turned into a beer festival.

"Vomiting, human waste, urination, graffiti, fights, noise and loud music," said Kwock.  "We have a barber shop that has liquor license.  We have a clothing store that has liquor license.  We have hair fashion salons that have liquor licenses."

Although open containers are not allowed on the street during First Fridays, residents say it's become a common occurrence.

Supporters argue that the events have helped businesses in the area and are tame in comparison to other locations like Waikiki.

The Chinatown Business and Community Association is holding a public meeting Tuesday morning to review the issue.  The meeting starts at 8:30 a.m. at the Empress Chinese Restaurant.

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