By Alyssa Schnugg
The Oxford Board of Aldermen voted Tuesday not to extend alcohol sales on Sunday nights until 11 p.m.
Currently, city ordinances allow restaurants to serve alcohol from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays.
Two aldermen, John Morgan and Mark Huelse asked their fellow board members to consider voting in favor of changing the hours to allow restaurants to serve alcohol until 11 p.m. on Sundays, giving restaurants an additional two hours to make money.
“With restaurants and bars currently closing at 11 p.m. during the week, giving them two more hours on Sunday would give them an advantage and with the increased popularity of Sunday night football and other athletic events, it would generate some income from them.”
Alderman Janice Antonow said she wasn’t in favor of changing the hours, even for a few months, because once the city allows the later Sunday night alcohol sales, it would be difficult to take it back eventually.
“The alcohol hours have never been reduced in this city,” she said. “Every time we’ve increased them they stayed that way, and I imagine this would be the same way.”
She said extending bar hours, even by two more hours would change the culture of Oxford.
“When we passed Sunday sales, our rationale was that people were here on weekends and wanted to have brunch and maybe a mimosa. Then we extended to evening hours – if people wanted to take the family for pizza and have a beer. It was never intended to be a late-night situation.”
Alderman Rick Addy pointed out that the Oxford Police Department does not have its Square detail working on Sundays currently.
“You’d have to hire someone to cover Sunday,” Addy said.
OPD Chief Jeff McCutchen said OPD has a small resource of officers who work downtown Wednesday through Saturday.
“Patrol can handle it now, but down the road in six months as it becomes a culture, we’d have to find coverage there and increases when we have to bring our DUI officers out,” he said. “It would have a significant impact eventually.”
Five of the aldermen agreed they would not be in favor of the extended hours and voted to table the ordinance amendment indefinitely.