Sunday liquor sales may finally see the light of day in Georgia’s most populous city if voters approve the measure this fall.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed signed the bill approved by City Council that paves the way for a voter referendum on November 8. If approved, sales of alcohol will be permitted inside the city limits in grocery stores, liquor stores, and other retail outlets.
Reed has said, however, that as an individual he does not support liquor sales on Sundays. To be fair to the will of Council and the voters, he moved the measure forward.
The mayor spoke about his decision shortly before he finalized the referendum for the ballot.
“I’m going to sign it. What I’ve said all along regarding Sunday sales is that, though I am personally opposed to the measure, I’m going to respect the will of the Atlanta City Council,” Reed said.
“I have a great deal of respect for Council member Alex Wan. He is the author of this legislation that was passed overwhelmingly by council. I’m going to sign it today,” he added last week.
Senate Bill 10 passed the Georgia Legislature in March and was signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal in late April. The measure allows individual communities across the state to decide whether or not they want to have Sunday liquor sales, such as the case in Atlanta.
Up to this point, retail liquor sales have been banned in the state primarily due to religious influences. The heavily-Christian Bible Belt has for years railed against liquor sales on Sundays.
For years, however, Georgia has allowed liquor, beer, and wine sales in bars and restaurants on Sundays.
In addition to liquor sales, Atlanta voters will vote on whether to extend a penny sales tax that will benefit the Atlanta Public Schools. They will also decide who will fill a vacancy on the Atlanta Board of Education.