Revisions sought in liquor law

October 04, 1997


Staff Writer

Liquor could be served earlier on some days in Washington County and later on others, under legislative requests made by the Washington County Restaurant and Beverage Association.

The association also is asking for a grace period at closing time so that county bars can have 15 minutes to clear their establishments of customers.

"Basically what we're saying is to clear up a gray area," Lou Thomas, spokesman for the beverage association, said Friday during a presentation of proposed legislation to the county's delegation in the General Assembly.


Thomas said the law requires bars to stop serving liquor at 2 a.m., but it also requires them to have all their customers gone by then - an awkward combination that basically forces bars to close early, he said.

The grace period would still mean no serving alcohol after 2 a.m., but bars would have until 2:15 a.m. to make sure their customers are gone, he said.

Another liquor law change would allow bars to stay open to 2 a.m. Monday morning if there is a federal holiday that day. Bars now must close at midnight every Sunday.

"We'd like to extend a courtesy to our customers," Thomas said.

The beverage association also is proposing to allow serving alcoholic beverages with the purchase of a meal on Sundays at 11 a.m. in restaurants and clubs. They now cannot serve alcohol until noon.

Delegation members voiced no opposition with those changes, but said they would like to see the opinion of the county liquor board on the issues.

Two changes proposed by the beverage association that raised some concern among delegation members were proposals to restrict grocery stores from selling cooking wines and increasing the commission for selling lottery tickets.

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