You may soon be able to buy alcohol before noon on Sundays in Mecklenburg County. A new law now allows that, but it’s up to local governments to opt in. Leaders in Charlotte are moving quickly to make the change.
Charlotte Councilman Kenny Smith has an August 13 deadline.
“The PGA championship is what I’m eyeing just because we’re going to have tens of thousands of people here and I hope they can have the complete brunch experience on championship Sunday,” Smith says.
Panthers’ season is coming up, too. Smith says allowing Sunday morning alcohol sales would give local businesses a big boost. He plans to put the item on the Economic Development Committee’s July 24 agenda with plans for a full vote before the end of the month.
Mecklenburg County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour agrees the change would be good for businesses. Plus, he says it’s a time saver.
Picture this - it’s Sunday morning and you’re in the grocery store. You just finished shopping for your afternoon cookout, but realize you won’t be able to buy that six pack quite yet.
“It’s like, ‘Oh it’s 11:45. I guess I’ll go to the magazine aisle and read the latest Southern Living or something,’” Ridenhour says.
The original 12:00 time was chosen in part out of respect for Sunday morning church services. But Ridenhour says that doesn’t apply so much anymore.
"I know a lot of folks who worship on Sunday evening or other times throughout the week and I don’t think we should be showing preference for one worship time or one religion over another," Ridenhour says.
The county ordinance wouldn’t impact many businesses – just those in unincorporated areas outside of city limits. Ridenhour’s working on an ordinance and hopes the county commission will vote on it July 11. He and Smith don’t expect any opposition.
WFAE spoke to several commissioners in neighboring counties. They had no solid plans on whether or not to allow Sunday morning alcohol sales.
Catawba County Commissioner Randall Isenhower has some reservations.
"Personally, I would be more likely to support the brunch part of it but not alcoholic beverages being sold outside of restaurants. I think it would be less likely for abuse at a restaurant," Isenhower says.
He and other county commissioners say the decision is really up to the towns. After all, that’s where most of the businesses are located.