Providence councilwoman proposes new nightlife safety measures


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — New legislation, if approved, could have an impact on nightlife in Providence.

City Council President Sabina Matos introduced the legislation Tuesday in an ongoing effort to keep club-goers safe.

“We want to make sure that people feel safe when they come to the city of Providence,” Matos said.

The proposed changes were prompted by a string of violent incidents happening inside or nearby Providence nightclubs, including the murder of a man inside of a hookah lounge and the stabbing death of another man near a Federal Hill nightclub.

Matos’ proposed three safety ordinances, including:

  • Prohibiting any new issuances of 2 a.m. liquor licenses for establishments in certain commercial zones.
  • Creating a codified schedule of penalties for violators and further defining what a nightclub is.
  • Requiring clubs to have video surveillance cameras inside and outside of all entrances and exits.

“If something happens, the police can get accurate information about what happened and how things developed,” Matos said.

Anthony Santurri owns three nightclubs in Providence and attended the three meetings Matos held to decide the safety measures.

He agrees with all three but also understands the trouble that’s sometimes caused by customers, no matter how many safety measures are in place.

“Public Safety is as important as profits,” Santurri said. “You get one or two irresponsible people, they make the issues that you see in the paper happen. What do we do about that?”

Matos is also proposing two city resolutions that would require nightclubs to be cleared by zoning before their business application is approved and give licensing officers and zoning enforcement additional training.

“We have to make sure that the city of Providence is a place where you can come, enjoy the night time, have fun, but make sure that you’re going to be safe while you’re here,” Matos said.

The safety measures will be introduced during this week’s Providence City Council meeting.

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