City Sunday sales OK'd, not yet in effect

While voters in the cities of Jackson and Jenkinsburg approved the Sunday sale of alcohol within their boundaries, don’t head to the store on the Sabbath just yet.

Officials say they are still in the process of updating their ordinances to reflect the will of the voters.

Until this year, Georgia was one of three states in the U.S. with so-called “blue laws” that barred the package sale of alcohol on Sundays. After years of wrangling in the state legislature, lawmakers this year voted to let communities across Georgia decide on their own whether to permit Sunday sales.

The move set off a flurry of referendums during the Nov. 8 elections, with most metro-Atlanta area communities approving Sunday sales. The question was also on the ballot in Jackson, Jenkinsburg and Flovilla -- though Flovilla voted down Sunday sales by a vote of 73-72.

Also in Jackson, where there are several restaurant bars in operation, voters approved Sunday sales by the drink. By-the-drink sales were approved for unincorporated Butts County in 2010.

But whereas the voters have spoken, officials in Jackson say the ordinances have to catch up.

Jackson City Clerk Lara Brewer said the city’s laws governing package and drink sales will need to be updated to allow for Sunday sales. She said the council was expected at its Nov. 15 meeting to call for two public hearings on the changes.

At the first meeting in December, she said, the public hearings would be held, giving residents and business owners a chance to voice their opinions, before the council acts.

She said she expected the changes in the city ordinances would have effective dates at the first of the year, to coincide with license renewals for store and bar owners, unless there were objections among council members.

Brewer said that after the Nov. 8 vote, there were several inquiries regarding when Sunday sales could start in Jackson.

But in Jenkinsburg, where City Administrator Cheryl Reid said there are two operating convenience stores that sell beer and wine, and where Sunday sales passed by a vote of 17-15, there have been no inquiries.

She said she was researching the Georgia law governing Sunday sales, but expected the city would follow Jackson’s lead in permitting sales after the first of the year through an ordinance amendment.