COVINGTON -- Sunday sales of alcohol for off-premises consumption go into effect today in Covington and Porterdale, but retailers will have to skip a week immediately, as sales are not allowed on Christmas Day, which is next Sunday, per city ordinances.
The Covington City Council approved the final reading of its ordinance regulating Sunday sales on Monday night. Sunday retail sales alcohol was approved by Covington voters 868 to 451 in a Nov. 8 referendum. Hours of sales are limited to 12:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
The city's ordinance regulating alcohol sales prohibits sales on Christmas and Thanksgiving days.
In Porterdale, voters approved a referendum allowing for Sunday retail sales of beer and wine by a tally of 106 to 94. Retailers with a license to sell beer and wine in the city limits of Porterdale will be able to sell the alcoholic beverages on Sunday, beginning Dec. 15, between the hours of 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. The City Council previously approved an ordinance governing the sales in July, provided the referendum was approved. Porterdale's ordinance also prohibits alcohol sales on Christmas Day.
The Georgia Food Industry Association says 105 Georgia cities approved a Sunday alcohol sales referendum Nov. 8.
Kathy Kuzava of the Georgia Food Industry Association said the group is advising retailers to double-check with their local governments before ringing up any booze sales on Sunday.
Some local package store owners previously told the Citizen they weren't enthused about opening on Sunday.
Hardick Patel, owner of Hester's Package, said he hopes liquor store owners will band together and make a pact not to open on Sundays. If one store opens, the rest will likely feel pressured, he said.
Patel said he doubts the extra day will mean many extra sales.
"People can come to the liquor store Monday through Saturday and buy whatever they want. If they can't buy it within six days, how are they going to buy it on Sunday?" he said.
Jane Alexander, owner of Newton Package Shop, said her store will remain closed on Sunday but wouldn't offer further comment except to say, "It was a personal decision."
A manager at Kroger in Newton Plaza, however, said Sunday sales will be helpful for the store, boosting sales of alcohol, since many customers already do their grocery shopping on Sunday.
"It will help our sales. We get a lot of customers from out of town, out of state, that don't realize we can't sell alcohol on Sundays," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.