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Repeal of Sunday liquor ban likely

  Our view: It probably won’t affect local operations much


It comes up nearly every legislative session — a repeal of Minnesota’s ban on Sunday liquor sales.
That ban has been in place since the state was formed, 159 years ago. It survived by the end of probation, and is one of only two “blue laws” left on the books, the other banning the sales of automobiles on Sunday.
The state has been edging toward the repeal for several years, starting with allowing restaurants and bars to serve alcohol on Sundays, but only on-sale.
The repeal has largely been pushed by the “big-box” liquor stores in the metro area and liquor stores that border our neighboring states, particularly Wisconsin, which already allow Sunday liquor sales. Those “border stores” argued that customers were crossing state lines to get their booze, since it wasn’t available to buy on Sundays. Also arguing in favor were the “craft brew” sites throughout the metro area, who want to cater to a larger weekend crowd.
Although residents seem to strongly favor the repeal of the Sunday liquor sales ban, there are those who are against it.
Some legislators would like to preserve Sunday as a day of rest, family time and of worship.
Some smaller liquor retailers argue that opening their stores on Sundays will cost them more in overhead than they will see in revenue; however, they feel the need to be open to compete with the big stores.
Well, as much as we would advocate keeping Sunday somewhat sacred, the reality is that nearly every other retail business is allowed to be open on Sundays.
And as far as the competition between small stores and the warehouse vendors, that competition exists every day of the week, not just on Sundays.
And, really, this is all about choice. Just because a liquor store can be open (provided the governor signs the repeal into law) doesn’t mean it has to be. It’s the owner or manager’s choice. That’s what free trade is all about, and those owners and managers will need to decided if it is worth it to them to open on Sundays, or preserve that day as a time of rest, recreation and worship for their employees.
In this area, early indications are that the liquor store in Glencoe probably will not open on Sundays. Right now, local officials don’t feel sales will increase much, or at all, with an extra day of operation. Hutchinson’s liquor store seems to be leaning the other way.
But, again, it all comes down to local choice. We don’t expect we’ll see much change in the area if the repeal becomes law, which likely will go in effect July 1. Again, Minnesota is just catching up to the times.
— L.C.