Latest GA Brunch Bill leaves out stores; Savannah businesses react

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - We may be one step closer to ordering a Bloody Mary on Sundays before 12:30 p.m., but retail stores across the State of Georgia will have to continue to wait for the clock to strike 12:30 p.m., according to the latest Brunch Bill.

"You know, I don't understand why we can't just open at 9:00 a.m. That would be beneficial,"  Christopher Ohmer, Operations Manager at Gilligan's Party Beverage Center, said.

Before this week, his store and other retail stores across the state were included in the Georgia Senate Bill which would have allowed both restaurants and stores to sell alcohol starting at 11:00 a.m. on Sundays. However, this week, the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee backed an amended bill that threw retail stores out of the mix.

"Well, I wish they would allow us to what we do every day instead of just on Sundays," Ohmer said.

Being located on Wilmington Island, he says his store misses on a certain clientele on Sunday mornings.

"The crowd would be people doing the beach, going out on the boat, those kinds of activities. People get started early," Ohmer said.

With getting a late start, Ohmer says he misses the opportunity.

"Let us serve at 9:00 a.m., let the restaurants serve drinks at 9:00 a.m.," Ohmer said.

Over in Midtown, Bubba Rosenthal, owner of Habersham Beverage Warehouse, says he was relieved to hear the latest draft.

"I'm glad they took it out of the bill. I think a product we sell here, you can buy in the afternoon or the night before," Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal says he has employees who like having their time off on Sunday mornings, and although the bill wouldn't have required him to open earlier than 12:30 p.m., he says he would still have to.

"We have to be competitive and we would have to open up then," Rosenthal said.

Either way, both owners can agree they'll continue to open their doors at 12:30 p.m. and do business as usual.

"We'll do the best we can to serve the public and Wilmington Island," Ohmer said.

"We love our customers and we don't want to lose them," Rosenthal said.

When it comes to the restaurants, the bill would still need our vote.

Even if lawmakers pass the measure, individual counties and cities would have the put the idea on a ballot for a vote.

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