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Polk commissioners still say 'no' to sale of alcohol on Sunday mornings

Posted: 5:05 PM, Jul 05, 2016
Updated: 2016-07-05 17:26:12-04

Beer and wine drinkers in Polk County will still have to wait until noon on Sundays to buy alcohol.

Commissioners rejected a proposal Tuesday that would have eliminated the Sunday morning alcohol restrictions, similar to the change Lakeland made late last year.

“I don’t think it’s necessary and it’s not appropriate. It’s just not right,” said Commissioner Edwin Smith, who was the most passionate “no” vote on the board.

Since last year, owners of bars and convenience stores have petitioned the county commission to change the liquor ordinance to better match what’s on the books in Lakeland.

“When Lakeland passed theirs, it became an unequal playing field,” said Tom Louzon, owner of Isle of Capri just outside the city limits.

Luzon said people no longer have a reason to wait outside his establishment until noon Sunday because they can just head into the city and get what they need.

“Absolutely not fair,” he said.

Commissioners reached a decision after hearing from some residents worried about an influx of drunk drivers. Some of the commissioners also seemed to struggle with the thought of allowing the sale of alcohol on a morning of worship.

“If you make up on Sunday morning and you have got to go down to the bar and get a drink, I think you probably need to talk to somebody else,” Commissioner Smith added.

Luzon plans to keep fighting to try to find away to get his business back up and running on Sunday mornings.