Clay County businesses can now sell alcohol at 7 a.m. on Sundays | News
Clay County, Fla. -- Today marks the first Sunday businesses in Clay County can sell alcohol starting at 7 a.m. Voters approved an ordinance allowing the early Sunday alcohol sales last month, making it consistent with the rest of the days of the week.
Cyndie Walker and Phillip Daniel toasted the new ordinance at Whitey's Fish Camp Sunday morning.
"This is our place to come usually, and now with having the change in the law we can stay here instead of taking our business across the river when we would rather support our local business here," said Walker.
Prior to December 2, 2012 businesses in the unincorporated parts of Clay County couldn't sell alcohol until 2 p.m. on Sundays.
"If you take all the tax dollars generated between all the restaurants, golf courses, convenience stores you are talking millions of dollars the county will be taking that sales impact on," said Billy Ham.
Ham is co-owner of Whitey's Fish Camp and said his restaurant teamed up with the Small Business Coalition to collect thousands of signatures to get the issue on the November ballot.
Despite the measure passing by nearly 60 percent, about 36,000 residents, 40%, voted against it.
But Ham said it's not just a win for businesses like his. He said it's a win for community.
"It creates more jobs. Naturally, we have to bring in more staff to support this effort. We have servers who will make more money whereas before their ticket average would be a lot lower because they couldn't add that extra beer or cocktail onto their ticket," said Ham.