Belhaven says no to Sunday morning alcohol sales

Published 7:26 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2017

BELHAVEN — The Belhaven Board of Aldermen voted to take no action on an ordinance prohibiting the sale of alcohol Sundays before noon.

Sunday business will proceed as usual, with alcohol sales only being allowed after noon. The board voted 4-0 to make no changes. Alderman Steve Carawan was absent due to a death in his family.

“The first question that came to my mind is: why do we need a change?” Mayor Adam O’Neal said. “It seems to me that’s something that’s worked for decades and decades and decades.”

The item of discussion was placed on the agenda following the North Carolina General Assembly’s passing of Senate Bill 155, known as the “brunch bill,” in late June. Gov. Roy Cooper signed the bill into law June 30.

The “brunch bill” allows municipalities to pass ordinances allowing the sale of alcohol starting at 10 a.m. Sundays, if they choose to do so. The new law applies to all alcohol vendors, including restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores.

Following the signing of the bill into law, a wave of municipalities across North Carolina took action to allow morning sales. Chocowinity Board of Commissioners approved a measure to allow these sales at its July meeting. Washington City Council followed suit Monday night with a 4-1 vote.

At the Board of Aldermen meeting, O’Neal argued that the original law was important because it was passed in respect of churches.

“We are more and more disrespecting churches,” O’Neal said, referencing modern society.

Without much more discussion, the board voted to keep the current ordinance on Sunday alcohol sales in place.