Downtown businesses happy about changes to blue laws

Published: Oct. 25, 2012 at 10:25 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 25, 2012 at 10:41 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - An 8 to 3 Metro Council vote said yes to big changes serving and selling alcohol on Sundays. The mayor takes a look at it next. Business managers in the say they're hoping the change gets his blessing.

"This city is thriving six days a week, and then it looks like it's shutdown," said Jay Ducote, who is in favor of the ordinance.

It's a sentiment echoed by many people who live and work in downtown Baton Rouge. Downtown Development District director Davis Rhorer says the changes to the city's blue laws could bring life back to the area on Sundays. The adopted ordinance would also allow stores to begin selling alcohol on Sunday from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m., like they already do the rest of the week.

"Visitors will stop us and ask us, 'what's open downtown?' This will allow, this new ordinance will allow these additional types of venues, the bars and stuff, will be open in conjunction with other things that are open already," said Rhorer.

If signed into law, the city's bars could open and sell liquor from 11am until midnight on Sundays. It's something downtown businesses like Hotel Indigo are banking on.

"There's a lot of things that we want to do and increase on Sunday. Like I mentioned before, the Sunday brunch, we want to work that into our hotel and our restaurant," said Phillip Mines, food and beverage manager at Hotel Indigo.

Some residents fear that extending liquor sales hours on Sundays will cause more problems in the city, problems that will require more law enforcement to handle.

"This is going to mean more revenue to pay for the extra personnel. Where is that coming from? The taxpayers," said Patsy Rust, who is against the ordinance.

But Rhorer says the extended hours doesn't necessarily mean people should, or will, get carried away.

"When you have things about alcohol, you must be responsible with that...whether it's on a Saturday night or a Sunday afternoon," said Rhorer.

Mayor Kip Holden has 12 days to sign or veto the ordinance. If neither happens, it will automatically go into law.

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