Valdosta, GA - Three different bar owners spoke out at Tuesday's City Council meeting in Live Oak, Florida. They say the city's current alcohol ordinances are bad for business.
The Council discussed whether to allow bars and stores to sell alcohol on Sundays. And whether bars should be able to stay open past midnight.
Right now, bars are closed on the Sabbath and stores like Publix can't sell alcohol that day. If passed, they will be able to sell everything from beer to liqueur depending on the establishment.
Also, bar owners say being forced to close at midnight sends their customers out to the county where the rules are different.
"And if we shut down early, and it happened during the Alabama vs. Notre Dame game, they all went to "The Getaway" (where) they're open till 2:00 in the morning," said the owner of "The Little Bar".
In a 3-2 decision the council voted to allow Sunday sales. But they refused to extend bar hours for safety reasons.
This was the first reading of two, so nothing is official yet, but the bar hours are not likely to change. The 2nd reading is scheduled for February 12th, when a final decision will be made.
The ordinance forces the bars to close at midnight and have all customers out by 12:30 am.
In the meeting, the Live Oak City Council also voted on where bars and package stores can be built.
In a 4-1 decision that is final, they will have to be a minimum 250 feet distance away from residential homes and schools. That does not affect existing bars and package stores.
There are currently no package stores in the city, but one is in the works and may open as soon as march.