HAMMOND, La. -- The City Council has voted to introduce a proposal that would expand alcohol sales on Sundays.
The vote introduces a possible change to the city’s alcohol ordinance. It is the second attempt to do so, as the first one, last month, failed.
Currently, the restaurant industry is the only kind of business allowed to bustle with alcohol sales on Sundays. The ordinance says those restaurants have to show, annually, that 60 percent of their revenue is on food. Other businesses that meet that criteria now want that chance too.
“The idea that's being presented by the Louisiana Retailers Association is to allow, primarily, grocery stores to sell alcohol on Sundays," said Mayor Mayson Foster.
Just as city leaders expect there to be differences of opinion in the community, they have two sides too.
“I think that we are a great city, and by the fact that we have a great higher education institution here, it makes us even more concerned about what we decide to do about this introduction," said Councilman Robert “Bobby” Martin.
"The one thing that we know is that people can go right outside of town because the parish has eliminated the Sunday blue law throughout the parish," said Foster.
The stores that will benefit from this change aren't the only ones supporting it. Restaurants, which already experience an exception to the Sunday sales rule, say ‘Why not?’
“In my opinion, the grocery stores are a totally different type of food and services, and they're a local businesses and they should have the same opportunity we did," said Monty Lunn, owner of Monty’s Bar and Bistro in downtown Hammond.
People we talked to said the same.
"I thought it was strange, because in some geographical areas you can get it in the state and some you can't, in close proximity." said James Nelson
Sam Dileo said, "I see no reason why they shouldn't, and if it deals with some religious principle, most people go to church on Sunday and drink wine at church, so kind of ridiculous."
City leaders say opinions like that are exactly what they need to make the right choice.
The item will go before the council and a public hearing next month. The mayor says if the change is approved after that, he will sign it into law.