By Stan Welch
The Town of Belton has voted to put the question of whether or not to allow Sunday sales of beer and wine to a referendum vote, and the Anderson County Council is considering whether to follow suit. They are being encouraged to do so by the S.C. Retail Association (SCRA) as well as by the fact that both Oconee and Greenville Counties already allow Sunday sales.
In a letter dated June 19, SCRA Executive Director Lindsey Kueffner cited the advantages of Sunday sales. Naturally, she pointed out that many shoppers will spend their money elsewhere rather than drive to another county just for a meal or a drink, thereby depriving a much broader spectrum of retailers their business. She also pointed out the potential difficulties for employees in enforcing prohibitions against Sunday sales.
The county is offering samples of ordinances from two other counties for the Anderson Council to consider.
The sample from Chester County includes both off premises sales of beer and wine, as well as on premises consumption of liquor at permitted locations, such as bars and restaurants. According to statistics obtained from Anderson County staff, Chester approved their ordinance in 2016 by a margin of 61 per cent to thirty nine per cent.
Another sample referendum from Spartanburg County allowed only for off-premises sale of beer and wine. That referendum was approved by a vote of 63 per cent to thirty seven per cent. The city of Spartanburg approved the question of Sunday sales by seventy four per cent to twenty six per cent. Each municipality within a county must adopt or refute he issue of Sunday sales individually.
Other nearby locations such as Greenville County (70 per cent) and the city of Easley (58%) also approved the sales. The data provided does not reflect whether on premises liquor consumption was included in the referendum question in those votes. Pendleton already has Sunday sales, as does Piedmont, just across the line in Greenville County.
If the Anderson County Council approves putting the issue to a referendum vote, the result would be binding, as opposed to the advisory referendum on a county wide hospitality tax. (See story elsewhere in this issue.) The Council will have to pass the ordinance and instruct the election commission to place it on the ballot in November. Each municipality will have to adopt or reject the sales individually.