County is right to give residents alcohol vote
Sunday, January 12, 2014 12:31 AM
Today is Sunday. And if you put off reading the paper until the afternoon, while seated in a restaurant for a lunch that includes a beer, glass of wine or a mixed drink, you had better be seated in a restaurant within Greenwood's city limits. Why is that? Because only those eateries within the city limits can sell you such a beverage on Sunday.
That could change later this year as Greenwood County Council is set to possibly give county voters a chance to say yes, they want to be on par with city residents or no, keep the Sunday alcohol sales switched off.
In 2012, city residents were afforded the same opportunity and overwhelmingly voted in support of allowing bars and restaurants to, if they so choose, obtain proper permits to sell alcoholic beverages Sundays. Greenwood County Council is right to follow suit and offer county voters the same opportunity.
Let the votes fall where they may, but in the end, we suspect county voters will be as supportive of Sunday sales as their counterparts within the city limits. Given the sometimes odd patterns in which the city and county lines are carved, it's very difficult for people — including longtime residents — to know whether they have entered a city or county restaurant or bar. And given the fact the city and county are constantly growing and thriving as destination points among travelers and vacationers, it would be logical for the city and county establishments to be on equal footing. It is far from unusual lately to be at a restaurant on a Sunday and hear a visitor question why he could not get a beer or glass of wine with his meal.
If you venture outside the area on vacation while remaining in the state, you already know many counties don't turn the beer tap off, cork the wine bottles or shutter the liquor cabinets Sundays. If the bar or restaurant is open for business, it's open for full business.
Ultimately, the decision will lie with the voters in Greenwood County, but it certainly makes sense that Greenwood city and county — a relatively small geographic area — be on par with each other when it comes to such an issue as Sunday alcohol sales. If it does not come to pass in November, then so be it. But at least County Council is showing wisdom in potentially putting the matter before the voters and, once again, reflecting how the city and county can operate more cooperatively and cohesively.