Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 10 a.m.
Ever wish you could have a mimosa before noon at Sunday brunch? Try to check out at Publix with a six-pack at 11:45 on Sunday, and be told you need to hang around and wait for 15 minutes? Fear not, problem drinker. The Fort Lauderdale city commission is on your side.
Florida's cities and counties have an overlapping patchwork of liquor laws: normally, state law prohibits liquor sales between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. Counties can change that -- for example, Miami-Dade's liquor stores can stay open 24 hours, and Broward restricts liquor sales before
noon on Sundays.
When a county changes the law, it affects all the municipalities within -- unless they make their own laws. That's what Fort Lauderdale has done, and now the Fort is in position to become the go-to spot for morning liquor sales on the Lord's day. Retail sales will still be restricted before noon, but bars and restaurants are free to pour from 7 a.m. on.
City commissioners agreed on the changes in a Tuesday meeting. They were facing pressure from restaurant and bar owners (and presumably retail establishments, too), who argued that Florida's tourism economy trumps old "blue law" notions about the sanctity of worship and all that.
Mayor Jack Seiler is expected to sign the new law at the end of the week.
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