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Nearly 6,000 Get Early Sunday Liquor Sales Permit

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(credit: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images, File)

(credit: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images, File)

LANSING (AP) – Nearly 6,000 businesses statewide have received a special permit to allow more Sunday morning liquor sales since a ban was lifted late last year, officials said.

Businesses pay an extra $160 annual fee to start sales early.

The Michigan Liquor Control Commission said the state has received about $950,000 in revenue as a result of the change, the Jackson Citizen Patriot reported Sunday.

“It opens up opportunities that previously didn’t exist,” said Justin Winslow, spokesman for the Michigan Restaurant Association, which lobbied for the ban on Sunday morning sales to be abolished. “There’s definitely the demand out there and our members are happy to be able to meet that.”

The state has nearly 16,000 active liquor licenses.

Alcohol sales had been prohibited between 2 a.m. and noon on Sundays, but lawmakers changed that rule last year to allow sales starting at 7 a.m.

Dave Baxter, who owns the South Side Super Deli in Jackson, was initially critical of the state’s decision to issue permits and viewed it as an extra and unnecessary fee. He eventual decided to apply for a permit after hearing from customers, he said.

“I had enough customers telling me they were going other places Sunday mornings,” Baxter said.

“We had enough people stopping and wanting to know if we sold before noon.”    He said sales have been slow during the Sunday morning period, and that he doesn’t know yet whether the permit is paying off.

“There’s not much going on the first few hours,” Baxter said. “It’s not like people are running to the liquor store first.”    Communities may opt out of Sunday alcohol sales for just the morning or all day, depending on their preference.

The law allowing Sunday morning sales includes other provisions, such as allowing grocers and merchants to distribute samples of beer and wine to those of legal drinking age and expanding the hours for alcohol sales around Christmas.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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