Dutchess County Hopes to Allow Liquor Stores To Stay Open Later
You may soon be able to buy alcohol later in the evening in Dutchess County.
On Thursday, the Dutchess County Legislature Government Services and Administration committee will consider a resolution to expand the hours of sale of wine and liquor at liquor and wine stores in the county.
The current law, which officials say are the most restrictive in the state, allows liquor and wine sales from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, and from noon until 9 p.m. on Sundays.
Under the proposed resolution, weekday and Saturday sales will be extended by two hours, until 9 p.m.
Holiday sales, which are currently restricted to one hour, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on New Year's, Thanksgiving, Memorial, Independence and Labor Day, will be updated to be the same as those allowed on weekdays and Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“This allows individual businesses to tailor their hours to the buying habits of people in their localities, instead of the one size fits some regulation we now have," Democratic County Legislator Frits Zernike, district 16, author and primary sponsor of the resolution, said in a press release. “Because you can stay open til 9 pm doesn't mean you have to.
Previous attempts at similar legislation failed because some merchants claimed the expanded hours would force them to stay open later or lose business to competitors who did, officials say.
“We also lose tourist dollars when visitors accustomed to less restrictive closing times find themselves high and dry if they miss the witching hour of that 7 pm closing time,” Zernike said. “In both cases, that means tax revenue is leaving Dutchess County as those consumer dollars go to neighboring counties with more reasonable hours of operation.”
Zernike believes the resolution will pass this time because of new language which outlines the new hours are an opportunity, not a requirement and the county's population and dynamics have changed.
If passed out of committee, the resolution will be voted on at the Legislative Board Meeting on Monday, April 8. It is expected to pass, with bipartisan support, at both meetings, officials say.
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