By Allen Duncan
While the majority of the SCAD student body was away, a sleepy Savannah pushed through a new city ordinance allowing for the retail sale of alcohol on Sundays. But the ordinance does nothing to change Sunday sales for bars.
While Sunday sales were originally to be allowed as of Jan. 1, 2012, Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages became legal in Savannah on Dec. 18 of last year. The new ordinance was adopted more quickly by the city council to keep Savannah’s commerce competitive with nearby municipalities that were already allowing Sunday sales.
Senate bill 10 effectively ended Georgia’s ban on Sunday sales of alcohol early in 2011. The bill allowed local governments to put the option of allowing Sunday sales in a given municipality on November ballots for a referendum. While opponents argued the morality, possible consequences of crime and economic aspects of Sunday sales, Gov. Nathan Deal said that giving the option to local citizens in referendums was a free and fair policy.
SB 10 was passed by the Georgia State Congress on April 12, 2011, before being signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal on April 28. When the allowance of Sunday sales in Savannah landed on ballots in November 2011, it passed easily.
“As a business owner, I think that it’s a great thing that they allow Sunday sales of alcohol,” Eddie Smalls said, a local small business owner. “I just think that it’s a terrible injustice how the ordinance was written up.” Smalls co-owns and operates Flajae’s, a convenience store, with his wife Sky Boyd. The couple is looking to open a night club soon.
“They didn’t break it down to which establishments could sell and which establishments couldn’t sell alcohol. They set it up so that when the people vote on Sunday sales, they voted for Sunday sales,” said Smalls.
Citizens of Savannah may now buy retail alcohol between the hours of 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Local liquor stores now have the option of being open for business an additional day, and many grocery and convenience stores can look for a bit more revenue. Bars without kitchens, however, are still prohibited from selling alcohol on Sundays.
“Sunday sales are great for a convenience store or a package shop, but if you own a tavern or a bar, you have to have a full kitchen to sell alcohol on Sundays. And I don’t think that’s what the people voted for. And as a small business owner, I’m affected on both sides,” said Smalls.
SCAD is a dry campus, and does not allow the consumption or possession of alcohol on any college property. Students and others should not drink unless they are of legal age, and then only do so responsibly.
Contact Allen Duncan.