Lowcountry liquor stores react to proposed Sunday liquor sales bill

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Liquor stores in South Carolina may be able to start selling liquor on Sundays.

A proposed state house bill would give counties the option to put Sunday liquor sales up for a vote and let the public decide.

Local liquor store owner, Santhya Vithlani, says she wouldn’t want that option. Vithlani owns Monach Liquors with her husband, and the pair work six days a week.

Sundays are the only days she can rest.

"It’s a small business, we can’t afford to hire anybody. So we work here long hours,” said Vithlani. “We work six days, 10 hours a day and we need a day off.”

She believes if her competition stays open on Sundays, she would have to as well.

Jim Danloff is the owner of the Packie in Summerville, and says he sees both sides of the argument for this bill.

He said as a citizen he understands why customers would want it open, but as a business owner he doesn’t believe the extra day would significantly increase his sales.

“It’s not going to increase my revenue. It’s going to spread six days of revenue over seven days. If they buy on Wednesdays, they’ll just buy on Sundays so it’s not going to make it any better for me,” said Danloff.

A short summary of the bill states:

The Department of Revenue may issue a permit to allow the sale of alcoholic liquors on Sunday by a licensed retail dealer in a county or municipality that authorizes the sale of alcoholic liquors in the manner provided by this section. The permit only may be issued in counties that were allocated at least one million dollars in accommodations tax from the Department of Revenue in fiscal year 2016. The permit only may authorize the sale of liquors between the hours of twelve p.m. and seven p.m. The county or municipal governing body may authorize the sale of liquor through an ordinance.

Rep. Shedron Williams is one of the sponsors of the bill. He said this piece of legislation, if passed, will give local counties and municipalities the option to put Sunday liquor sales up for a referendum and then let the public decide if that’s something they’d like to see.

In North Myrtle Beach, the Chamber of Commerce has a survey out to its members to see who would be in favor of Sunday liquor sales.

The bill was prefiled back in December. It was referred to the House Judiciary committee on Jan. 8.

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