Sunday liquor sales approved by Winder vote

WINDER - Winder voters approved a measure Tuesday that will allow Sunday liquor sales at restaurants in the city.

The special election drew 321 people to the polls. At 3 p.m., when 180 people had cast their ballots, Deputy City Clerk Sabrina Wall said she was amazed by the turnout.

"We're really excited," she said.

An ordinance in 1997 that would have allowed restaurants to sell alcohol on Sundays failed to pass voter muster, but this year's measure passed with 57 percent of the vote.

The 182 Winder residents who voted for Sunday sales and other residents of the city will not be able to buy liquor at their favorite restaurant this Sunday, though. It could be November before Winder's City Council can regulate sales times and decide who exactly can sell liquor by the drink.

There were 139 votes against the ordinance.

Wall said previously that several restaurants, including Red Lobster and Applebee's, were waiting to see if the liquor-by-the-drink vote passed before deciding to open locations in the city. The choice was presented to residents after a group of local restaurant owners petitioned the City Council to allow Sunday sales.

The council did not want to vote on the measure without hearing from the community, Wall said. Currently, restaurants in Winder can sell liquor Monday through Saturday, while Sunday liquor sales are permitted in Barrow County.