No 'pot of gold' for Flint bars that hoped to open early on St. Patty's Day
By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
FLINT, MI (WNEM) -
Flint leaders wanted to give bars an economic shot in the arm. That's why they passed a resolution to allow bars to sell alcohol before noon on St. Patrick's Day, which falls on a Sunday this year. But a ruling from Lansing means no such luck for bars hoping to cash in on the Irish holiday.
Drinking Guinness at the crack of dawn is something Courtney DeFord said she enjoys only one day of the year. That day is St. Patrick's Day.
"It's a drinking holiday, that's the only point of St. Patty's Day," laughed DeFord.
She had the same plans as Noah Morgan. Those plans were to start the celebrations early in downtown Flint.
"I would have probably been down here a little early," said Morgan.
But now, both say those plans will likely change after Lansing ruled the city can't make a one-day exception to its ban on selling alcohol before noon on Sundays.
"I think Flint businesses were counting on this," said Morgan.
Earlier this year, Flint City Council OK'd the one-day pass because St. Patrick's Day falls on a Sunday this year. The Michigan Liquor Control Commission said not so fast.
"They said we had to redraft a resolution, eliminating the ban, and if we wanted to put it back in, we'd have to draft another resolution. In the meantime, there would have been a $160 fee for businesses to apply for it, and in a week's time, and for only five hours of liquor sales, it just did not seem worth the headache," said Flint Public Information Officer Jason Lorenz.
For some downtown businesses, the decision comes after they'd already planned Sunday morning St. Patty's Day events. Those events included selling breakfast and plenty of green beer.
Kelly McNamara works at Churchill's in downtown Flint. She said the bar has scrapped their plans to open early because now it's not worth it.
"People are going to go other places where they can start before noon and then we lose that business, if they even make it back over here after noon," said McNamara.
Other businesses said they still plan to open early, they will just follow the rules. Fines if a business gets caught selling before noon can be $300. The business can also have its liquor license suspended or revoked.
Back in 2010, state lawmakers passed a law that allows businesses to sell alcohol early on Sundays with a special permit. Part of that law allowed individual municipalities to opt out. Flint was one of them. That's why the one-day pass to allow sales did not work, according to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission.
Copyright 2013 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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