The current law prohibits retail outlets to sell alcohol on Sundays before 11a.m. and bars from opening at all. During the discussion, Councilwoman Alison Gary proposed to amend the bill so that retail could open at 6a.m. on Sundays, but bars would have to wait until 11a.m. to serve alcohol just like restaurants. The original bill proposed that bars operate as they do every other day of the week, which is open at 7a.m. Councilwoman Gary pointed out the contradiction that restaurants who derive 50% of their revenue from food can serve alcohol on Sundays.
The council will vote on the amended bill in two weeks. The council will also vote at that time on whether or not bars will be allowed to stay open until 4a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
Police Chief Dewayne White expressed concern over the bill and its possible connection to new crime. He said, “East Baton Rouge Parish leads the state in the number of DWI arrests each year.”