The Chicago City Council is finally taking up one of my pet peeves: the city's absurd rules on Sunday liquor sales. Under the current laws, liquor can't be sold before 11 AM. Under Ald. Pat O'Connor's proposal, big grocery stores would be allowed to sell it starting at 8 AM.
It's a small but sensible improvement. The idea that the city is somehow preventing people from drinking by restricting hours is pretty dubious. Truly addicted drinkers have enough foresight to plan around such obstacles, and most of the people who got bombed on Saturday night aren't up at 8 the next morning.
The people inconvenienced are sober citizens who do their shopping on Sunday morning. Right now, they can get their eggs, detergent and cold medicine first thing on Sunday, but they have to come back later to purchase a bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer. It's a pointless hassle.
The city liquor commissioner told the council that religious groups want to reserve Sunday mornings for worship. But most people don't attend services on Sunday. And I'd be willing to bet a donation to Catholic Charities that if the council allows earlier liquor sales, church attendance won't drop. In fact, if they could buy their booze on the way to Mass, they might be more inclined to go. It's worth finding out.
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