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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- You will be able to order a beer, cocktails or other alcoholic beverage as soon as 10 a.m. on Sundays in Louisville restaurants, perhaps the day after the Kentucky Derby, if not sooner.
That's because metro council members voted 16-7, with three not voting, Thursday to approve the change from the previous 1 p.m. limit. The change will impact nearly 300 restaurants.
Supporters say the measure will boost breakfast and brunch businesses and allow establishments to compete better with those in southern Indiana. They expect increased orders of mimosas, Bloody Marys, beer and such.
"Having it be available starting at 10 a.m. will be a huge gain for us," says Will Rush, General Manager of the Wild Eggs in Westport Village.
"I don't understand what the big fuss would be if it would increase the businesses, which is what we want to do is support local businesses anyways," says Emily Coomes, a Louisville resident.
"Every time we talk about serving brunch, we say no because we can't sell alcohol," says Brett Davis, owner of La Coop.
WDRB's Tamara Evans asked the restaurant owner if the vote would change his mind.
"Oh yes. Absolutely," he said.
Opponents, particularly some west end council members, believed the expansion of alcohol sales could lead to increased crime.
"Is the Metro Council more concerned about the revenue for these 300 restaurants than the welfare of the whole community," one community member asked Metro Council members.
"I think this ordinance was really on the fast track. It got into committee, and was out. It didn't have an opportunity to have a lot of discussion on it," says Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton.
"They're already there until 4:00 in the morning, and then turn around and serve at 10:00 a.m....and we have a lot of problems with that restaurant," Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin said about a restaurant in the area she serves.
"We have in our conversation with people in the community that there's an outpouring of support for a measure like this," says Councilman David Tandy. He was the chief sponsor of the measure.
Mayor Greg Fischer told WDRB's Tamara Evans that he would sign the bill immediately, so it could take effect in time for the Sunday morning after the Kentucky Derby.
The ordinance reads in part:
"…..Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (A), (B), and (C), all hotels, motels, and restaurants, which are retail drink and wine by the drink licensees who receive at least 50% or more of their gross annual income from dining facilities by the sale of food and airport drink licensees and horse track licensees, may sell, permit to be sold, or permit consumption of liquor, or wine, or malt beverages by the drink on Sundays between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 a.m. on Monday, the following day…."
Supporters say all remaining alcohol sales restrictions on Sundays are unchanged. The ordinance applies to restaurants only. It does not allow earlier hours for retail outlets and stores to sell alcohol on Sunday.