TUPELO – Pending state approval, Tupelo will allow the sale of alcoholic beverages for five additional hours on Sundays and an extra hour every other day of the week.
The City Council discussed the issue for a few minutes and then voted 4-3 to extend the hours for alcohol sales, acting on a recent recommendation from the Tupelo Restaurant Association.
New hours restaurants can serve alcohol approved by the council are from 10 a.m. until 1 a.m. each day. Current hours are 10 a.m. until midnight on Monday through Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.
The Mississippi Department of Revenue must formally approve the change for liquor and wine before it can take effect. However, the city can begin serving beer and light wine 30 days after the council vote.
This vote will affect sale of all alcoholic beverages in restaurants and beer and light wine in other businesses where it is sold, such as grocery and convenience stores.
Extending alcohol sales hasn’t been publicly discussed in more than a year, and council members opposed to the vote said the quick decision denies citizens an opportunity to voice their opinion on the issue.
“I think we owe it to our citizens the right to speak for it and against it,” Councilman Willie Jennings of Ward 7 said before the vote.
Representatives of area restaurants attended the meeting but lack of advance public discussion on the issue likely prevented opposition from organizing.