Possible change in store for blue laws in Gainesville


Until 1975, it was illegal to purchase any alcohol on Sunday in Gainesville.  At the time, Jeffrey Meldon, founder of the Great Southern Music Hall in Gainesville, called into question the blue laws because he wanted to be able to sell alcohol during the shows he held on Sunday. Florida’s 89.1 WUFT-FM’s  Samantha Taub reports on how more than 15 years later, Meldon is still calling the blue laws into question.

He says blue laws represented certain religious attitudes at the time and now things are much different.

“In fact, it is unlikely that any of the city commissioners believe there should be Sunday blue laws because of religious reasons. Secondly, we’re in a severe recession, and we need all the jobs we can create in Gainesville. I’ve done a survey of all the other cities in Florida, including Tallahassee, which is probably the most similar to Gainesville because it’s a university city, and none of them have Sunday blue laws in effect. Their laws are the same on Sunday as on any other day,” Meldon said.

Gainesville city commissioners won’t be meeting for a couple months, and City Commissioner Jeanna Mastrodicasa says she doubts there will be much of a change.

“The hours for alcohol sales are regulated by local ordinance. The specific one the complaint was you cannot purchase alcohol before 1 p.m. on Sundays… We will probably talk through the issue a little bit. I would be surprised if we made any changes to the time of sale at any other point during the week.”

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