Savannah City Attorney Brooks Stillwell said he was unable to find any local ordinances that would allow bars to sell alcohol on Sundays after reviewing the matter at the City Council’s direction.
So the city is taking the matter to Georgia’s lawmakers to try to get legislation passed that would enable Savannah to allow such sales.
Council members are worried the state prohibition would impact businesses during this year’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Since the holiday falls on Monday, visitors are expected through the weekend leading up to it.
Alderman Tony Thomas said he wants to make sure restaurants and retail stores are not the only businesses able to profit during that time. In addition, Thomas said bars, as well as booths set up in City Market for the occasion, should be able to legally sell alcohol that Sunday.
Currently, state law requires restaurants to derive more than half of their annual revenue from food sales in order to sell alcohol on Sundays.
Nonprofits also have the ability to sell alcohol during occasions such as St. Patrick’s Day, as they have in the past, said Thomas. To be fair, the people who are purchasing alcohol licenses should also have that option, he said.
Alderman Van Johnson said the change is a legislative priority for him. The restriction no longer makes sense after Savannah’s voters approved a referendum in 2011 allowing Sunday alcohol sales at retail stores, he said.