Years ago, it would have required heaven and earth to get approval to sell alcohol on Sunday in Oconee County.
This year, it passed with barely a headwind.
Sunday sale of alcohol was not even on the public radar until it suddenly appeared on the Board of Commissioners agenda for its July 19 agenda-setting meeting.
Commission Chairman Melvin Davis said that he had received requests from businesses requesting Sunday sales of alcohol. The Oconee Enterprise’s open-records request found form letters, nearly identically worded, from grocers.
At its first meeting in August, the BOC voted to put two referenda on the ballot. The discussion, citizen input and vote took all of 16 minutes.
Representing pro-alcohol sales were Glen Wilkins, director of public affairs for Wal-Mart in the Atlanta area, and the executive director of the Georgia Restaurant Association, Karen Bremer.
“If you pass this, it will increase restaurant sales $1,000 a week,” Bremer said. “Not from alcohol, but from extra business. Restaurants will be able to employ extra people on Sundays.”
“Alcohol is a small part of the basket that goes out,” Wilkins said. “What we see is people from Oconee going outside the county to shop because one-stop shopping is more convenient.”
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