Those Sunday morning mimosas and Bloody Marys could start flowing by the end of the month.
In a 6-3 vote at its meeting on Tuesday, the Auburn City Council voted to adopt an amendment to the city's alcohol ordinance, nicknamed the "brunch bill," which allows restaurants and hotels to begin selling alcohol at 10 a.m. on Sundays.
The city's previous laws required restaurants and other businesses that serve alcohol to be consumed on their premises wait until noon on Sundays. Starting April 29, the last Sunday of the month, they will be able to start the earlier sales. Liquor stores and other shops that sell alcohol will still have to wait until noon.
The change stems from requests from the local business community.
Robyn Bridges, vice president of the Auburn and Opelika Tourism Bureau, said that research shows that restaurants have the opportunity to generate $25,000 worth of annual revenue from the extension of those two hours on the weekend.
"Multiply that times the number of restaurants that we have in the area," Bridges said on Monday. "It's a big deal, and we hope it will be beneficial to business."
Council members Gene Dulaney, Ward 7; Verlinda White, Ward 1, and Tommy Dawson, Ward 8, all voted against the proposal Tuesday night. The same three voted against a request to the state Legislature for the ability to vote on the issue in January, with Dulaney saying it was an erosion of the holy day.
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Also in January, Opelika City Council rejected a similar request to the Legislature. Auburn is now the only city in the area to allow morning alcohol sales in restaurants. Patrons must wait until noon in Opelika and 12:30 p.m. in Columbus, Georgia.
Auburn Mayor Bill Ham said that he had not heard any opposition to the bill and that he was confident that this change would be positive for the city.
The state legislation allowing the council to set service times was sponsored by Rep. Joe Lovvorn, R-Auburn, who said that the change would be positive for the community, bringing economic stimulation to the city.
"We welcome a large number of visitors each year, and the increase in revenue should help businesses and the City of Auburn," Lovvorn said in March.
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