The phrase, “Bottoms Up!” may begin a bit sooner on Sundays in Dade City.
Consumers in Dade City will soon be able to purchase alcoholic beverages on early Sunday mornings — if an amended citywide ordinance is approved on a second and final reading.
Under the proposed change, Dade City businesses with liquor licenses would be permitted to start selling alcohol at 7 a.m., on Sundays — four hours earlier than currently allowed.
If adopted, the measure would create uniform alcohol sales hours all seven days of the week in Dade City — from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., the following morning.
The proposal to change the alcohol sales hours passed on a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Scott Black dissenting.
A second and final reading is expected on Feb. 23.
The ordinance mirrors a recent ruling enacted by the Pasco County Commission, which voted unanimously in November 2020 to change the county’s “blue law,” which had outlawed alcohol sales before 11 a.m., on Sundays.
A blue law generally refers to a state or local law that restricts certain commercial activities on Sunday for religious reasons, in order to observe a day of worship, or rest.
Other nearby municipalities also have repealed their respective blue laws in recent years, including the cities of Tampa, Lakeland and St. Petersburg. The City of Zephyrhills repealed the restriction on early Sunday morning alcohol sales more than a decade ago.
The call for the change in Dade City came at the behest of multiple Dade City establishments as a way to remain competitive, and as a way to avoid confusion for patrons.
In addition to retail packaged alcohol sales at local grocery or liquor stores as early as 7 a.m. Sunday, the ruling also would allow restauranteurs’ wish to sell alcoholic beverages on Sunday mornings, such as mimosas, Bloody Mary’s and so on.
Dade City Mayor Camille Hernandez spoke in favor of relaxing the ordinance, reasoning that it is a “business friendly” measure intended to create “a level playing field” with the rest of the county.
Hernandez said the issue seemingly came to a head during Super Bowl Sunday, when many local shoppers — who were preparing for Game Day festivities — were informed it was too early to purchase alcohol at various grocery stores and other establishments within city limits.
“It’s not so much about drinking a mimosa at certain hours of the day, but having the opportunity to come into a grocery store or other establishment and being a convenience item to be able to do that one-stop shop,” the mayor said.
She also noted that if those shoppers ventured to Wesley Chapel or slightly outside limits, they’d have been able to make those one-stop shop alcohol purchases, which therefore discourages commerce in Dade City.
“People don’t want to go elsewhere,” Hernandez said, but, “if they’re not going to get it here, they’re going to go support other businesses that are outside of the Dade City limits.”
Hernandez also pointed to the city’s reputation as a fun place to shop and dine.
And, that’s likely to get a boost once a new downtown events and entertainment venue called The Block opens up on Seventh Street later on this year.
“We are trying to support businesses in our community and trying to help them with what they need to continue to survive and flourish in our area,” Hernandez said.
The mayor also noted that the Dade City Police Department has not expressed opposition or raised any “red flags” regarding passage of the proposed change.
Published February 17, 2021