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Decision Could Open Up Sunday Retail Alcohol Sales In S.C.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Grocery and convenience stores in six counties and a dozen cities will be able to sell beer and wine on Sundays unless those governments object, the Department of Revenue has decided.

The change in policy came after a May 14 referendum in Summerville, S.C., that asked voters to approve all Sunday alcohol sales in that town. Town officials asked for a clarification on whether the vote would apply to bars and restaurants, as well as carryout sales, Revenue Department spokesman Danny Brazell told a local TV news station.

"After we took a look at Summerville, we decided that to be fair that all this should apply to all liquor referendums, which by state law contain similar language," said Brazell. "The policy change comes as a surprise to businesses and community leaders. And it's a relief to some consumers now accustomed to dry Sundays."

The policy change means any retailer applying to sell beer and wine on Sunday in any area where voters have approved the sales will be given a permit, according to Brazell. Counties were given a two-week window to object to the change in policy, but that period ends today.

If there are no objections, the department will begin approving permit applications from retailers wanting to sell beer and wine in those areas, Brazell said.

Columbia Mayor Bob Coble said he thinks the new policy will hold because it gives consumers a choice. "Blue laws are very antiquated, and people need to make their own choices about what day of the week they buy what product," he said.
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