Bylaw Says Dartmouth Can’t Limit Black Friday Opening Times
Retail stores in Dartmouth can, and will, open at 1 a.m. on Black Friday for the foreseeable future.
At last week's Dartmouth Select Board meeting, the board agreed to only allow stores to open at 6 a.m. at the earliest in 2017. However, the board announced at Monday's meeting they didn't have the power to do that.
According to a town bylaw, the Select Board only has the authority to limit opening hours on the popular shopping holiday if there are safety issues with the event.
The bylaw also says stores only have to submit an application to the town for Black Friday hours before 4 a.m.
Selectman Frank Gracie said he met with Lt. Greg Rutch of the Dartmouth Police Department to discuss the safety statistics of Black Friday in the past.
"He gave me a report about statistics of a lack of injuries actually, and how they actually do it. I'm very impressed with how its done, and I'm convinced that the system is not broken. So, there's no reason to fix anything," Gracie told WBSM News.
While the issue of family time on Thanksgiving being interrupted due to early openings won't be fixed, many of the Select Board members agreed that the Dartmouth PD has the shopping chaos under control.
Khol's manager, Shawn Andrade attended Monday's meeting to request extended hours the week before Christmas to 24 hours. Andrade said he met with officers for a walk-through of Black Friday safety procedures.
This week's Black Friday applications passed 4-1, as opposed to last week's 3-2 vote. Selectman Shawn McDonald was the lone holdout, as he traditionally has been in years past.
The bylaw limiting the Select Board's authority on Black Friday hours could be changed, but only through a submission to Town Meeting.