As state lawmakers gear up for another push to repeal the ban on Sunday alcohol sales, some local liquor store owners would prefer to keep their doors closed.
“We don’t want to open Sundays,” said Sangita Patel of D&D Liquors in Naugatuck.
For years, legislators representing the towns near the state’s borders have called for package stores to be open on Sundays.
They’ve argued that the stores in their towns are losing business, and the state is losing tax revenue because people are going out of state on Sundays to buy their alcohol.
In years past, efforts to lift the ban on Sunday sales have fallen flat due in large part to stiff opposition from former Gov. Jodi Rell and former state Sen. Thomas Colapietro, who used to co-chair the General Assembly’s General Law Committee.
With Rell and Colapietro no longer in the picture, supporters of Sunday sales are beginning to gain traction.
“It’s time to repeal the ban and allow Sunday liquor sales,” said state Rep. Kathy Tallarita (D-Enfield), in a prepared statement.
Tallarita filed a bill to remove the ban last month, like she has done the past several years.
Gov. Dan Malloy has thrown his support behind the measure, although, it’s not his top concern.
“The Governor is focusing his efforts on budgetary discipline and job creation and he does not plan on making this issue a priority that he will be advocating on behalf of, however if the legislature does decide to pass a Sunday sales bill he will sign it,” said David Bednarz, deputy press secretary for Malloy, in an e-mail to the Citizen’s News.
Tallarita said, in a written statement, she’s encouraged by Malloy’s support, and felt the additional revenue brought in from Sunday sales is badly needed to help the state dig out of its budget deficit. She added, the bill only gives store owners the option to open on Sundays.
“Repealing the ban is a win for everyone,” said Tallarita, in a written statement. “It would be convenient for consumers, keep tax dollars in Connecticut and store owners would have the option to open or not.”
While Tallarita described Sunday sales as win-win situation, locally, that feeling isn’t mutual.
“We don’t like it,” said Paul Patel of Cross Pointe Liquors in Naugatuck.
The feeling locally was that Sunday sales wouldn’t generate any additional revenue for area stores. Instead local stores felt Sunday sales would just spread out their profits over seven days rather six, and take away the one day off a week they have.
“The small stores should not be open. … Six days are labor intensive. You need one day of rest. It should not be about money all the time,” said Davinder Matharu, owner of Beacon Beer and Beverage in Beacon Falls.
The reaction of local liquor stores was mixed when asked whether they would open on Sundays if the bill passes.
Sangita Patel said she would take a wait-and-see approach.
Paul Patel felt that if other borough stores are open, then he would have too as well.
“If everyone opens in the town, I’d have to open,” Paul Patel said.
Matharu said since he’s in a small town he would likely close if given the option. But, he added, the situation would be different if he were in another location.
“If given the option whether to close or open, then I would close,” Matharu said.