Destin repeals prohibition on Sunday alcohol sales

DESTN, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A local city is loosening up its alcohol restrictions.

People in Destin now don't have to wait to buy their booze on Sundays.

For years, consumers in Destin have been restricted from buying packaged alcohol until a certain time on Sundays.

"This was an old law that was leftover from a time when the entire county was not even allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays. The compromise was made probably 30 or 40 years ago that alcohol could be sold on Sundays, but not before 1 p.m.," said Destin Councilman, Parker Destin.

"We usually have signs put on the glass to keep people from even grabbing [alcohol] really," Harbor Walk Marina Manager Coleman Jacobs said. "Anytime someone came to try and get alcohol on Sundays it's tough to tell them no because we're missing a sale but it being the ordinance, we had to go with the law."

"It only applied to packaged alcohol on Sunday morning, but not consume on premises, so people could still buy a drink in a restaurant before 1 p.m. but they couldn't buy a six pack of beer if they wanted to go out on one of these boats on a charter on Sunday morning," Destin explained. "It just seemed unfair."

Now, an update to the city's ordinance allows people to indulge earlier than before.

"I'm for it," local Robert Medina said. "I never saw a reason for it to be existing to begin with. It just always seemed kinda silly."

This week the Destin City Council approved the new rules, loosening up the city's alcohol restrictions.

"We were one of the last cities to probably repeal that, as Fort Walton Beach and Shalimar don't have a similar prohibition," Destin pointed out.

"It's definitely overdue. They've been missing out on a lot of sales. These local businesses, they depend on every sale that we can get so opening up at 7 on Sundays will definitely help a lot of people," Jacobs said.

After witnessing what he said was at least a thousand dollars worth of alcohol put back on the shelves, Councilman Destin said it sparked his passion to spearhead the change.

"The fact remains if it was your conscious objective to have a drink Sunday morning, you could always go down to any of these harbor establishments and partake in bottomless mimosas or all you can drink Bloody Marys, but you couldn't do it buy buying a six pack of beer across the street and it just didn't make any sense," Destin said.

"A lot of people will leave here and go into the other counties to get what they need or what they want and yeah, it makes a lot of sense. [There] could be a lot more people purchasing a lot more alcohol, a lot more beverages here and a lot more taxes and a lot more dollars into the community," Medina added.

Although there hasn't been a Sunday yet since the change, local businesses are excited to see more revenue.

"From past experience working Sundays and having to turn so many people away, I'm sure its going to help out a lot. Especially on these holiday weekends, Fourth of July weekend, Bo Legs and things like that," Jacobs said. "It's going to open up a big market for us hopefully."

The new ordinance passed five to two and went into effect immediately.