MAYVILLE – An effort to change the state law to allow for the sale of alcohol at restaurants before noon on Sunday will not have the support of the Chautauqua County Legislature.
On Wednesday night during the county legislature meeting, a motion was introduced encouraging the State to eliminate what the sponsors feel is an outdated precedent that prohibits the sale of alcohol on Sunday before noon at restaurants. The motion was co-sponsored by county legislator George Borrello (R-Irving).
“Right now in New York State you can walk into a grocery store at 8 a.m. on a Sunday and purchase a case of beer if you’d like, but you can’t go to brunch and have a mimosa, or a bloody Mary or some other alcoholic beverage of your choice,” Borrello said. “This is an unfair targeting of this industry. Places like NY State Restaurant Association strongly support the change to this state law. It is truly unfair and should be corrected.”
However, the motion, which needed two-thirds (13 votes) support from county lawmakers in order to be sent to Albany, failed by one vote. Voting against the measure were Terry Niebel (R-Sheridan), Jay Gould (R-Ashville), John Hemmer (R-Westfield), and Bob Scudder (R-Fredonia). Both Elisabeth Rankin (R-Jamestown) and Lisa Vanstrom (R-Ellicott) abstained from the vote, citing a conflict of interest because they both work for members of the state legislature. Legislator Ron Lemon (R-Frewsburg) was absent.
Scudder said he wasn’t against business, but it was just his personal view that the state law remain unchanged.
“It’s just my personal opinion. I’m not against business and I’m not against anything that a ‘no’ vote could seem to stand for, other than I just personally don’t think it is necessary. Again, this is just a motion, not a resolution,” Scudder said.
While he didn’t have a vote on the matter, County executive Vince Horrigan said that because of the economic benefits the change would have on wineries and restaurants, he is in support of changing the law.
“It can help business,” Horrigan told WRFA following Wednesday’s meeting. “I don’t see a huge negative push-back or negative impact. I respect others that maybe have some personal reasons for not supporting the change. I go to church every Sunday, but I go to the 8:30 mass so I’m good to go by 10 or 10:30. I just think it’s a little outdated.”
Currently, anyone who wishes to have an alcoholic drink at a winery or restaurant must wait until noon to do so. The law also had an especially adverse effect this past fall when the Buffalo Bills played a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in England, with the kickoff taking place at 9 a.m. in the morning here in New York. As a result, many restaurants and taverns across Western New York lost business from fans who typically watched Bills’ games at their establishments.