The Chester County Council will consider Monday a voter referendum for the November ballot that would allow Sunday alcohol sales.
Selling beer and liquor on Sunday is always a controversial topic in deeply religious South Carolina. Some municipalities and counties have moved to allow Sunday sales after changing local and county laws through petition or voter referendums. Others still do not.
Many in the business community have been pushing for Sunday sales in the county for years. In 2014, voters in the city of Chester overwhelmingly passed Sunday sales in a referendum. Neighboring York County has Sunday sales after a referendum passed by a wide margin.
If approved, restaurants and bars could sell liquor by the drink for on-premises consumption on Sundays, and stores could sell beer and wine for off-premises consumption on Sundays.
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The Chester County Council has been wrestling with the topic for three months and finally has it up for an initial vote to pass the question on to voters. The council would have to move quickly to be able to get the referendum on the November ballot, County Supervisor Shane Stuart said.
“We think we finally have found a way forward with this,” Stuart said. “This gives the voters, the people of Chester County, a chance to vote on this and decide what they want.”
Sunday sales historically have been opposed by religious groups.
The Rev. Clay Waldrip, senior pastor at Chester’s First Baptist Church, said he would “prefer not to have Sunday alcohol sales.”
However, the passage of Sunday sales in the city of Chester and York County have been successful for businesses. Waldrip said Friday he did not know Chester County was considering asking voters to approve Sunday sales, and was unsure if the Chester Baptist Association or others knew about the potential for Sunday sales.
“We already have it in the city,” he said. “This would probably be similar.”
Most counties and communities around the state that have put the question to voters have passed Sunday sales.
Chester County Councilman Alex Oliphant said he understands opposition from some who say Sunday should be different when it comes to alcohol sales, but he is willing to put the decision in the hands of county voters.
“I’ll vote to put it on the ballot,” he said. “I don’t mind people choosing what they want.”
Want to go?
The Chester County Council will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at the Great Falls War Memorial Building, 401 Dearborn St. Great Falls.