Wed., November 9, 2011 3:38pm (EST)

Six Packs on Sunday? Soon.
By Jeanne Bonner
Updated: 3 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
About 100 Georgia cities and counties are holding votes on whether to allow stores to sell alcohol on Sundays. The referendum is the result of a lengthy battle in the state legislature over whether municipalities should have the right to decide on the issue. Until April, Georgia was one of only three states that don’t allow the Sunday sale of alcohol in stores. (Photo: Jeanne Bonner)
About 100 Georgia cities and counties are holding votes on whether to allow stores to sell alcohol on Sundays. The referendum is the result of a lengthy battle in the state legislature over whether municipalities should have the right to decide on the issue. Until April, Georgia was one of only three states that don’t allow the Sunday sale of alcohol in stores. (Photo: Jeanne Bonner)
The Sunday alcohol sales referendum passed in scores of cities around the state on Tuesday and now some consumers want to know what’s next. The bad news: they probably won’t find the liquor store open this Sunday.

A statewide law allowed communities to vote on Sunday alcohol sales.

But each city and county voting yes decides on its own when residents can begin picking up a six-pack on Sundays.

Jim Tudor lobbied for the law as head of the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores. He says there's no one fail-safe date.

“Some have some fairly short implementation times and some have structured it so it doesn’t go into effect until after the first of the year," he said. "It’s really a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction rollout and that’s, again, local control.”

Before any law can go into effect, municipalities have to certify the election results first. State officials say that probably won’t happen until early next week.

Tudor says other some cities haven’t set an implementation date. Other cities have: In Macon, the law takes effect on Dec. 4, while Savannah is expected to enact it in January.

Savannah public information officer, Brett Bell, says there’s one more step left for the city.

“The next step is the Savannah City Council must amend our alcohol ordinance to allow for Sunday alcohol sales," he said. "So that will happen probably sometime over the next month with the goal of making Sunday alcohol sales legal on Jan. 1 -- which is a Sunday.”

About 100 Georgia cities conducted Sunday alcohol sales referenda this year, while only about ten counties did so. That’s because cities hold elections in off-years such as 2011.

Officials say they expect many counties will put it up for a vote next year. And some municipalities have already said they will hold votes in conjunction with the presidential primary in March.

Atlanta, Valdosta and Gainesville passed the referendum, while Waycross and Albany rejected it.