Grovetown officials opted to allow voters in Tuesday’s municipal election to decide whether Sunday packaged alcohol sales should be allowed in the city.
If passed, the referendum would allow package, grocery and convenience stores to sell liquor, beer and wine on Sundays. A law passed this year in the Georgia Legislature and signed by Gov. Nathan Deal allows local communities to call for a referendum on Sunday sales.
“Any time an alcohol question has come up, it has always been our nature, our history, to let the voters decide,” Grovetown Mayor George James said.
Many years ago, the voters allowed alcohol sales inside the city, James said. In 2005, city voters approved a referendum to allow by-the-drink alcohol sales on Sundays at restaurants. If the new referendum passes, Grovetown might, for now, become the only location in Columbia County and in the Augusta area to buy packaged alcohol on Sundays.
If the referendum passes, James said he doesn’t see it creating additional revenue for the city, but possibly some for the merchants. It would simply be more convenient for residents.
“I don’t see a great advantage of it other than it being a personal choice for people,” James said.
Angel Wallace, the manager of Billy Jack’s Party Shop on Harlem-Grovetown Road, said she doesn’t know if the store, which is open Monday through Saturday, would open Sunday.
“We’re still undecided if we’re going to open,” she said of the shop that has operated next to the IGA grocery store since 2002. “We’ll probably give it a trial run to see how it goes.”
Penny Walker said she doesn’t get a lot of customers asking to buy alcohol at the Circle K store she manages on Wrightsboro Road at Horizon South Parkway. Most customers already know they currently can’t purchase alcohol on Sundays, she said.
But Walker said the referendum would be a good thing for business and she thinks residents would take advantage of it.
Harlem officials have not discussed a similar referendum. Columbia County might put such a referendum to a vote next year.