Drinks to be poured a bit later in Tifton
Their names may be different, but for every bar and restaurant in Tifton one thing remains the same: no alcohol on Sundays. However, residents now have the power to change that at the polls on November 5th.
"A lot of people have come to us, especially the tourism crowd that want to have it and maybe it's the best thing but I think putting it on the ballot is the important thing," said Mayor Jamie Cater.
City Council members say though their opinions on the issue differ, they understand the final say should be up to the public and on Monday voted to put the question on the ballot.
Though residents will have to wait until November to see if they can purchase on Sundays, one thing that immediately is the changing of Saturday hours. Because of the strict "no alcohol purchases on Sunday" rule, bartenders are required to cut off all customers at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, which many owners claim is their busiest night.
"It put us at a handicap compared to Valdosta, Albany. We were closing about the time people were getting ready to come out and we'd have 100 to 125 people in there at 11:59 that we could not serve anymore," said Mitch Williams, the owner of The Locker Room, a sports bar on Brumby Way.
Bars will now be able to keep the beers coming thanks to a vote by the city council that will allow all establishments to serve until 2 a.m. on Sunday. The new rule goes into effect immediately, and owners say the benefits will also come pouring in.
"It was really hurting our business and now that we can stay open until at least 2 on Saturday nights, it's going to help tremendously," said Williams.
For those that are concerned about an increase in drunk driving and illegal activity, Williams says in his 44 years of experience in law enforcement, he's never seen a huge increase in those problems due to extended hours because people are going to either act responsibly or not despite the hour.