Philadelphia City Council passes 'stop and go' bill

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A bill to crack down on so-called 'stop and go' establishments passed by a 14-3 vote in Philadelphia City Council on Thursday.

The legislation changes licensing requirements for neighborhood stores that sell alcohol.

Critics say the stores exploit the poor in the inner city by selling beer, shots and crack pipes, even as children come into buying candy.

State regulations require accessible restrooms and seating for 30.

"These businesses are supposed to be restaurants, they're supposed to be operating as restaurants right now," said Councilwoman Cindy Bass. "Most of these establishments don't sell food, they sell beer, they sell liquor by the shot, they sell cold medicine and allergy medicine which you can convert to products that get you high. They sell crack pipes - glass pipes that can be used to smoke crack, and they sell candy to children."

Members of the Asian-American Beverage Merchants Association says they are willing to go along with reforms like accessible restrooms, serving real food and seating for more than 30 to cut down on loitering outside.

But they oppose a measure in the bill that could lead to the removal of bulletproof partitions at the cash register.

"No we've got to choose between living and making a living. So if we want to continue the business, we have only one option. You know, and I know, and the whole public knows we'll have to carry guns," said Adam Xu of the Asian-American Beverage Merchants Association.

The bill will send the bulletproof glass measure straight to L&I for up to three years of study.

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