No New Outlets for Alcohol on Sunday
Sunday needs to be different than other six days.
With the Georgia budget shortfall, lawmakers are trying to find new streams of revenue. Some people have suggested the hours and outlets for sales of alcohol be expanded on Sunday, to add to the revenue coffers. Georgia is a wet state, allowing for packaged sales of alcohol, beer and wine in many outlets including grocery stores, corner convenience stores, bars and restaurants. Currently, there are some restrictions in place on Sunday for the packaged sales of alcohol.
There is not a packaged liquor store in the city of Dacula. That could change by a vote of the people if this bill passes. Last week, the bill moved quickly through the State and Local Government Operations Committee chaired by Senator Butch Miller from Hall County.
We are being told that by allowing the sales of alcohol, beer, and wine on Sunday during the hours of 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., there will be a windfall profit for the state. Chain grocery store managers have said every Sunday their customers are asking to be able to buy booze during the afternoon and evening. Some of the estimated revenue coming to the state for the Sunday sales of alcohol range between $1-2 million dollars. Looking at a budget of over $17 billion, the estimated amount seems small. Those who argue for this bill insist that alcohol is already available in restaurants as a mixed drink but cannot be purchased by the bottle in liquor stores or other outlets on Sunday.
Hebron Baptist Church is one of the largest churches in the nation and within the city limit of Dacula. Hebron has activities for members and guests during many hours most days of the week. Sunday is the busiest day, however, for traffic flow in and around the church property on Fence Road in Dacula. Sunday, for many people across our state, is a day that is set aside for worship. For many years we have been involved in a struggle to keep Sunday as a day different than the other six days.
We began to see this day encroached upon years ago with retail outlets opening in the afternoons and now have expanded their hours of operation to all day on Sunday just like the other six days. I mention this because in this Sunday alcohol bill there seems to be an attempt to appease the church folks by limiting the expansion hours to the afternoon and evening on Sunday. I can only guess how long it will take to move those hours aside and have alcohol sales 24/7 at every outlet possible in Dacula, Gwinnett County, and Georgia.
From where I stand we need no new legislation on this issue. We need to keep Sunday from being encroached even more by the alcohol industry. The promised benefits from more sales and outlets of alcohol never seem to add up compared to the cost of additional law enforcement and helping agencies for the victims of alcohol.