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Hall voters OK Sunday package sales, liquor by the drink
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Hall County voters approved two measures to repeal Sunday alcohol sales bans in unincorporated parts of the county on Tuesday.

The approval allows unincorporated Hall County to join the cities of Flowery Branch, Gainesville and Oakwood in lifting the blue law.

Voters said "yes" to two questions regarding Sunday sales.

The first question, which asked voters to allow licensed stores to sell packaged beer and wine on Sundays, won 57 percent approval. The second, which would let restaurants and bars sell liquor by the drink on Sundays, had 58 percent.

The referendum questions were available to all Hall County voters, even those in the cities that had already approved lifting the bans in November.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners brought the referendums to voters, hoping to put county businesses on an "even playing field with businesses within city limits," Commissioner Billy Powell said.

Commissioner Scott Gibbs pointed out some businesses in the county that sell beer and wine have been at a disadvantage to those in the cities that currently allow Sunday sales. In some cases, he said, those businesses are across the street from each other.

Powell said, "Where appropriate we want to support business growth in the county wherever we can. I'm glad the voters thought it appropriate to pass it."

The change won't take immediate effect.

Hall County commissioners will have to amend the alcohol codes to allow for sales on Sundays and to set hours of sale.

"We want to move expeditiously to make the necessary code changes, for the benefit of local businesses," said Hall County spokeswoman Nikki Young in an email to The Times. "However, we will keep an eye on pending state legislation that also may affect alcohol codes and make changes as needed."

Tuesday's vote does not change a current ban on selling distilled spirits outside city limits.