Voters to determine if restaurants can sell alcohol earlier on Sundays

Voters in dozens of Georgia cities and counties are deciding whether to allow restaurants to sell alcoholic beverages earlier on Sundays.

The Georgia Restaurant Association pushed for the passage of the so-called Brunch Bill for four years.

This year, state lawmakers approved the measure, allowing cities and counties to put the issue on the ballot for voters.

“Now we are here at the moment of truth for everybody,” said Georgia Restaurant Association CEO Karen Bremer.

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If voters say yes, restaurants will be permitted to sell alcohol beginning at 11 a.m. on Sundays, instead of the current time of 12:30 p.m.

Backers say it’s about giving people more choice and boosting business for restaurants.

“It extrapolates out to $100 million or $11 million in sales tax,” said Bremer.

Bremer told Channel 2 Action News supporting the measure helps level the playing field for businesses, since state-owned properties are allowed to sell alcohol earlier on Sundays.

Opponents of the time change, including some in the faith community, worry about the increased access to alcohol.

Earlier this year, Mike Griffin of the Georgia Baptist Mission Board addressed a Senate committee.

“Accessibility equals sales, sales equals consumption and consumption equals problems that go along with alcohol. The percentage of alcohol consumed will exponentially increase whatever the problems are that are associated with it,” said Griffin.

The issue is on the ballot in several local cities, including Atlanta, College Park, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Milton, Roswell, Sandy Springs, South Fulton and Union City.

The Georgia Restaurant Association expects more cities to take it up next year when there are municipal elections.

Early voting continues this week.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

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