Jacksonville City Council votes to shut down adult arcades sooner

Mayor Lenny Curry says he will sign bill approved by City Council

By Kent Justice - Anchor/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It was a vote as close as it could possibly get Tuesday night in Jacksonville City Council, and now, it appears adult arcades in Duval County must shut down almost immediately.

Under an ordinance passed by City Council in May, the businesses would have had to close their doors by Feb. 1. That changed Tuesday night, when City Council moved up the deadline.

Council Member Leanna Cumber argued that the businesses are a public nuisance, and that public safety is at risk.

"These are not safe establishments, and what they're doing is pushing out people who actually have businesses," Cumber said.

Members who opposed the bill didn't want to go back on their word from May in giving the businesses six months.

Mayor Lenny Curry told News4Jax during an interview on "The Morning Show" on Wednesday that he will sign the bill moving the timetable up, saying that the sheriff himself has communicated the public safety issues surrounding the businesses.

Members who balked at changing the timetable said they didn't want to hurt employees of those businesses, who would suddenly lose their jobs.

"How can we say people can have a choice of schools, but we're going to choose where people can spend their time? That's not on us," said City Council member Joyce Morgan.

When the council voted, the measure failed with 10 people voting against it. Council members said they were confused and the president had council vote again.

On the second vote, the bill passed 10-9. People who support the adult arcades said they're angry.

"Right before the holidays. You're putting everyone out of work," said Sabrina Zinc, who works at an arcade. "What about Christmas? What about Thanksgiving? How am I going to provide for my family?"

Curry responded to her comment during his interview on" The Morning Show."

"You hate to see somebody that doesn't have a job, is not going to have income, but the fact is, these places have been public safety issues," he said.

Code enforcement and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office will figure out how to make sure the businesses close once the bill is signed.

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