Should alcohol be sold on Sunday? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Should alcohol be sold on Sunday?

November 21, 2006

Leesburg --  Georgia is one of only three states that doesn't permit beer and wine sales in stores on Sunday. 

The Georgia Food Industry Association and the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores wants that to change.  They're pushing for the state legislature to all the sales of beer and wine in conveniences and grocery stores, but it may not be a change a legislature in the middle of the Bible Belt is willing to make. 

Convenience Store owners call it a double standard. "I don't see any point on not selling it Sunday," said Doublegate E-Z Mart owner Marilyn Bullington. "We already sell it to midnight Saturday night, and they double up and buy more, so they can have it for Sunday, and you can get it at the restaurants and buy liquor by the drink, and they are out driving around."

That's why some merchants are pushing to allow Sunday sales of beer and wine at convenience and grocery stores.  Not being allowed to sell they say puts them at a disadvantage.

"It's a definite drop in our sales on that particular day.  It just mostly soft drinks and cigarettes and fuel," Bullington said.

In 1996, the Democratic leadership finally allowed bars and restaurants to sell beer, wine, and liquor on Sunday, at the option of each county, something the now Republican controlled legislature might not be so quick to allow stores to do.  

"I'm sure they'll find a sponsor, the real question is whether or not it will get a hearing," said state Rep. Ed Rynders of Lee County. "Then of course in committee if it gets a hearing will it be voted to the full floor to vote on it.  I would suspect it won't come to a vote in the House."

Rynders says it has a lot to do with being in the Bible Belt. 

Not all convenience store owners are for the push. " I wouldn't go along with selling on Sunday," said Petro/Leadfoot Owner Morris Leverett. "I've got two businesses and I just don't think it's right to sell it on Sunday-- it goes against my beliefs and my religion."

For now, consumers will have to continue to buy their brew in advance of football Sunday or New Years which also falls on Sunday this year.  The other two states that don't allow Sunday alcohol sales are Connecticut and Indiana. 

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