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August 2, 2014

Chester considers referendum on Sunday alcohol sales

The City Council will vote Monday to allow voters to decide if alcohol should be sold in Chester on Sundays.

Voters in Chester may decide on the sale of alcohol on Sundays, if a referendum is approved at Monday night’s specially-called council meeting.

The city council will decide whether to add the referendum to the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

Councilman King Thompson said Sunday alcohol sales are another way to “bring revenue to Chester.”

Liquor stores by state law cannot be open on Sundays. In Chester, grocery stores, convenience stores and restaurants cannot sell beer, wine or liquor, which sends people to other areas to spend their money instead.

On premise sales in restaurants and beer and wine sales at convenience and grocery stores, are allowed in York County. On premises sales in restaurants are allowed in Lancaster County.

“It’s taken a long time for Chester to get on the bandwagon and give voters the opportunity to give their opinions about alcohol sales,” Thompson said.

Retailers such as Walmart, would be affected if the voters support the referendum because it’s in the city.

That would be huge, Thompson said.

“It would be a big boost for our sales and a way for the people in the community to make money,” said councilman William Killian.

Money that would normally go out of the city would remain in Chester , which will be particularly good for small, locally-owned shops and restaurants that would benefit from the increased business on Sundays, if alcohol sales are permitted, they said. The city would also benefit from increased sales tax revenue.

Killian and Thompson said it’s important that the city keeps up with what people want.

In recent weeks, nearly 2,000 new jobs have been announced in Chester County at a new tire plant and textile company.

“Everybody can be happy with this,” Killian said.

Even people who don’t drink alcohol should be support the referendum, Thompson and Killian said.

“To me, it’s just appalling for people not to be able to go sit down somewhere and have a friendly drink,” said Thompson, who doesn’t drink alcohol.

Some argue drinking alcohol results in people misbehaving, but Thompson said the day that happens won’t change those people’s behavior.

“If they’re going to be rowdy on Sunday, they’re going to be rowdy on Monday,” he said.

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