Main Street St. Charles reference to ‘Footloose’ delivered message; quieted crowds

Coronavirus

ST. CHARLES, Mo. – An unusual plan to quiet party crowds on Main Street appears to have worked in the first big test this past weekend.

Around 10 p.m. last Saturday, North Main Street was busy, but not out of control. The difference was remarkable when you compare it to video from the same loft balcony the weekend before.

“It was much quieter. It was much more controlled,” said Main Street loft resident Gayle Gallagher.

The biggest change involved three nightclubs below Gallagher. They suspended dancing under new restrictions. Officials believed dance clubs were attracting people from all around St. Louis because of increased restrictions there.

Gallagher wasn’t sure how visitors would respond.

“Will they show up and be angry because they came out here planning to party and it wasn’t there?” she said. “But I really think word must’ve gotten out because there really wasn’t the crowds showing up that we would normally get.”

St. Charles Mayor Dan Borgmeyer said news about Main Street changes went national after he jokingly compared the dance club restrictions to the movie “Footloose.”

“The word spread very fast. Social media is such a powerful thing,” he said. “Evidently, I got called ‘Mayor Footloose’ in USA Today, Washington Post and everything else so, you hooked me on it, so I guess it’s that word that spread all over the country.”

Restaurants were also told a St. Charles ordinance requiring music to be turned down to “restaurant level” at 11 p.m. would be enforced.

St. Charles police were also very visible like they are on typically busy Main Street nights.

“The presence, the cooperation with the bars, and the cooperation with the city – the plan worked like we really wanted it to and that’s what we’re going to stick with,” said Captain Ray Juengst, St. Charles Police Department.

Another unusual part of Main Street’s plan? Restaurants on the north end were allowed to increase capacity from 25 percent to 50 percent to make up for shutting down dance clubs. Borgmeyer believes that was key to spreading out crowds throughout the entire evening, rather than have crowds explode on the dance scene after 11 p.m.

The mayor said the plan will continue until St. Louis City and St. Louis County ease up on restrictions. We will continue to monitor how it goes.

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