MORRISON – The City Council on Monday decided to allow local bars to sell alcohol on Sundays.
Last year, a council majority rejected Sunday sales, but with four of its members recently elected, the council voted 6-0 for the change. Aldermen Leo Sullivan and Michael Blean, both of whom voted last year to continue the ban, were absent.
Speaking for the Chamber of Commerce, resident Stephanie Vavra urged the council to allow Sunday sales at bars. She said it was unfair to ban four downtown businesses from operating on Sundays, when all other businesses could keep their doors open.
Also, she said, the change should take effect immediately, so the bars could take advantage of the increase in summer traffic, especially from those visiting because of the Lincoln Highway anniversary.
Speaking for herself, Vavra disagreed with the city proposal to restrict liquor sales to noon to 10 p.m. on Sundays, saying it was a violation of First Amendment rights and Thomas Jefferson’s belief in the separation between church and state. Every other day, she noted, the city allows bars to be open more hours.
“You are not keeping that separation intact,” Vavra said.
At the meeting, Mayor Everett Pannier read a letter from Morrison resident Nancy Gravert. She noted the community recently reduced residential speed limits because of safety concerns, and in that spirit, should keep its ban on Sunday alcohol sales at bars.
During the council discussion, Alderman Dale Eizenga said he liked Vavra’s point on the hours on Sunday.
Eizenga said the council should keep the limited hours for now, but look into possibly expanding them later. The mayor said the city could look into the matter.
A representative of a bar in the audience said she was fine with the hours.
Under the change, bars will have no additional license fees if they start serving on Sundays.