Voters in Gainesville will decide in November whether to allow restaurants in the city to sell alcohol earlier on Sundays.
The Gainesville City Council voted Tuesday to put a referendum on the ballot Nov. 6, the same day as the general election. Senate Bill 17, or “the brunch bill,” was signed by Gov. Nathan Deal in May and gives cities and counties the option to allow alcohol sales in restaurants starting at 11 a.m. on Sundays, as long as local voters approve a referendum by popular vote.
Previous state law only allowed for alcohol sales after 12:30 p.m. on Sundays, at both restaurants and grocery stores. The “brunch bill” only applies to restaurants.
The council voted 4-1 Tuesday, with Councilman George Wangemann voting in opposition. After the meeting, Wangemann said he does not believe the city needs to “liberalize” its alcohol ordinance. Some people cannot handle alcohol well, he said, and he was concerned about placing a burden on the city’s police officers.
Ballots in November will read: “Shall the governing authority of the City of Gainesville, Georgia be authorized to permit and regulate Sunday sales of distilled spirits or alcoholic beverages for beverage purposes by the drink from 11:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M.?”
Flowery Branch and Braselton will also vote on the “brunch bill” Nov. 6. The Hall County Board of Commissioners is set to consider the issue at its July 26 meeting, and the Oakwood City Council will follow on Aug. 7.