Voters in Greenwood County will now be able to decide whether or not alcohol can be sold in bars and restaurants on Sunday after Greenwood County Council passed the third and final reading of an ordinance placing the question on the November ballot.
The ordinance places the question on the ballot for Greenwood County residents who do not live inside the limits of any of the municipalities within the county. The City of Greenwood passed a similar measure in 2012 which let city residents decide whether or not to allow bars and restaurants to serve alcohol on Sunday. The measure passed easily, with 4,699 votes in favor (65 percent) to just 2,571 votes against (35 percent).
The question pertains only to bars and restaurants and will have no effect on the sale of alcohol on Sunday for grocery stores and convenience stores.
The process began several months ago when business owners approached council about putting the question on the November ballot. Business owners outside the City of Greenwood said they felt they were at a competitive disadvantage to businesses within the city on Sundays. Council agreed to move forward with the issue.
Acting county attorney Stephen Baggett told council that an ordinance would have to be passed and that state law was very specific as to what questions could be asked of voters. Essentially, council could have chosen to pose the question for bars and restaurants to serve alcohol on Sunday, for convenience stores and grocery stores to sell alcohol on Sunday, or to allow both. Council opted to mirror what the City of Greenwood did in order to maintain a level playing field.
The question which will appear on the Nov. 2014 ballot is, “Shall the South Carolina Department of Revenue be authorized to issue temporary permits in this county for a period not to exceed twenty‑four hours to allow the possession, sale, and consumption of alcoholic liquors by the drink to bona fide nonprofit organizations and business establishments otherwise authorized to be licensed for consumption‑on‑premises sales?”
All three readings passed unanimously.