The city of Paris in Bourbon County will soon allow Sunday alcohol sales as a result of a city commission vote Tuesday.
The 5-0 vote followed two public hearings and a first reading of the ordinance. More than 50 people attended the meeting, with the majority wearing stickers in support of the ordinance change. Several applauded after the vote.
The law change would allow those with the appropriate licenses to sell malt beverages and distilled spirits by the drink from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Package sales would be allowed from 1 to 10 p.m. A special annual drink license must also be purchased for $300. The change would begin July 1.
Paris’ current ordinance allows alcohol sales from 8 a.m. until 1 a.m. Monday through Saturday. The updated ordinance allows for sales to begin at 6 a.m.
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Several supporters said economics was a main reason they supported the change.
Stephen Swisher, president of Advanced Restaurant Consultants, a restaurant and event consulting firm, said Tuesday’s vote was important.
“I think that Sunday sales will make probably one of the most dramatic improvements for the economic development of the city of Paris that we could have,” he said.
Swisher said with alcohol sales now being allowed on Sunday, he hopes to see more businesses in the downtown area open on Sunday generating tourism money.
“When somebody is coming together for a horsey event and they’re looking at where to stay, Paris is an obvious choice simply because of Claiborne Farm. The history within horse racing is clearly rooted with Bourbon County, more so possibly than anywhere else. But if the city of Paris is essentially closed on Sunday then you’re not going to choose to come to Paris on the weekend,” he said.
Joseph Clay, a Paris resident, called the vote historic.
“With this vote, we’ll have some entrepreneurs that will be coming into town now because we’re a tourist destination,” he said.
Clay owned the Bour-Bon restaurant on Main Street for two years before it closed in 2016. Clay said Sunday alcohol sales could have helped his restaurant.
“When I had the business, I was open on Sundays for brunch and ... we weren’t able to serve alcohol. That would have made a profitable day,” he said.
Nearby communities such as Lexington and Georgetown already allow Sunday alcohol sales.
Mayor Michael Thornton said change is inevitable and the vote will help Paris progress.
“I think it’s been a tough decision weighing out the pros and the cons on it, but I think that if we continue to act in the manner that we have for years here, we’re going to continue to get the same results,” he said.