Officials of an eastern Nebraska city are considering a proposal that would allow hard liquor sales on Sunday mornings.
Under current laws in Columbus, businesses can sell beer and wine starting at 6 a.m. on Sundays, but are required to wait until noon to serve hard liquor.
Nebraska began allowing hard liquor sales on Sunday mornings in 2012, but individual communities and counties have the authority to set their own jurisdictions, The Columbus Telegram reported. Columbus rejected the hard liquor sales proposal in 2013.
Business owners and employees who support the proposal said it will better serve customers and reduce the burden on employees.
“It’s been 80 years since Prohibition and surely it’s time to update alcohol laws for the 21st century,” said Travis Johnson, a part-time bartender at Glur’s Tavern.
Project Extra Mile, a nonprofit that aims to reduce alcohol-related problems, opposes the proposal. The nonprofit said the state has a “demonstrated problem with excessive alcohol consumption” that would get worse if liquor sales rules are relaxed. The nonprofit said the change would endanger public health and safety.
City council shouldn’t change the community standard, said Columbus Police Chief Chuck Sherer.
“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” he said.
However, Sherer said he doesn’t believe there would be an increase in alcohol-related problems on Sunday mornings if the proposal is accepted.
City Council voted this week to advance the proposal to an ordinance stage. The ordinance will likely receive three readings before the council has a final vote on the issue.