Carrboro says bottoms up to brunch bill

Carrboro voted unanimously July 3 to be the first local government in the state to enjoy alcohol with their Sunday brunch.

Governor Roy Cooper signed the new law , which permits restaurants and shops to sell alcohol after 10 a.m. if local governments approve, on June 30.

Carrboro Board of Aldermen member Damon Seils said they passed the law almost directly after the governor signed the bill, not having a reason to delay the decision.

“We were just beginning our summer recess and we wanted our local restaurants and other businesses to be able to benefit over the summer,” he said.

Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle said they were tracking the bill and waiting for it to be passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor. She said they they called a special meeting for the bill since their next meeting was scheduled for September.

“We thought it made good economic sense to enact this as soon as we could,” she said.

Including North Carolina, 48 states have similar liquor laws that don’t treat Sundays differently than every other day of the week.

“It’s beneficial all around, especially a town like Carrboro, where our local restaurants are a really big part of our local economy,” Seils said.

Lavelle said they learned that when restaurants don’t serve alcohol until noon, a lot of people will wait to make their reservations.

“We found that not only would that help businesses in terms of sales and economic development, it also helps people who work at businesses, like waiters and waitresses, that also earn tips,” she said. 

Former Carrboro resident Juliet Flam-Ross said she understood why the bill was passed and that it was good step for Carrboro.

 “It’s a poor separation of church and state if you can’t buy alcohol on Sundays,” Flam-Ross said.  

Carrboro resident Melissa Hornbeck said she was not surprised that Carrboro was the first town to pass this bill.

“It doesn’t really surprise me that they’re the first because this is kind of their industry and how they get the money out of this town is from students and families that come and visit over the weekend,” she said.

Flam-Ross said the bill should have been there in the first place, as people should be able to drink when they want.

“It makes me proud to have grown up here because they took the logical step,” she said.

The Chapel Hill Town Council approved the 10 a.m. brunch alcohol sales, but deferred the decision on whether to allow earlier alcohol sales in stores until fall. The council will wait until more of the community is in town to get a larger public input.

“Every jurisdiction in the state has kind of different rules about how they come into session and how they take up new ordinances, how they make amendments to their town codes, so I think it really just depends on a case by case basis how each jurisdiction is meant to consider the issue.” Seils said.

Hornbeck said because Carrboro is such a huge "food and entertainment" spot, the bill will do well for the community.

“Having a mimosa with your meal, who doesn’t want that?” she said.

Thanks for reading.

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