Sunday alcohol sales hot topic in Clay County election | News

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Sunday alcohol sales hot topic in Clay County election
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CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- If you want an alcoholic drink in Clay County on Sunday, you have to wait until 2 p.m., but that law could soon change.

There is a referendum on the ballot in Clay County about when alcohol can be sold on Sundays.  Some business owners are pushing to move it to 7 a.m., which would make it consistent with the rest of the days of the week.

Elaine Cassala with Whitey's Fish Camp in Orange Park says the fact that they and other businesses can't sell alcohol until 2 p.m. puts them at a disadvantage and their customers are going to the surrounding counties.  She says not only are customers that want to have a drink going to other counties, but also fisherman who would stop by to buy bait and a case of beer early in the morning are not coming to Clay County to do that on Sundays.

"It is hard to guesstimate for everybody, but we feel confident in saying at least a million dollars a year in business revenue and then think in terms of the county, for what it is going to mean for tax dollars," says Cassala.

So in January, Cassala and other business owners began petitions to get this referendum on the ballot.

On the other side of the coin, some feel it is not appropriate to sell alcohol on Sundays or move up the current time.

We called around to find out the alcohol laws in the other counties in our area and these are the counties that got back to us with the information:

-Nassau County - no sales until 2 p.m. Sundays, except in the unincorporated parts of Amelia Island which can serve at noon.

-St. Johns County - serve/sell at 7 a.m. on Sundays.

-Baker County - no alcohol is to be sold on Sunday.

-Camden County - licensed retailers can sell "malt beverages, wine and distilled spirits for off premises consumption" starting at 12:30 p.m.

The referendum is on the last page of the ballot in Clay County.

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