TUPELO – The Mississippi Tax Commission on Wednesday signed and entered an order allowing Tupelo to sell wine and liquor on Sunday.
It takes effect immediately, said commission spokeswoman Kathy Waterbury. That means people will be able to buy the alcoholic beverages from restaurants and other licensed on-premise establishments starting this Sunday.
Sales are allowed from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.
City leaders had made the request to the Tax Commission in December, just months after having passed an ordinance allowing on-premise beer and light wine sales from 1-10 p.m. Sundays.
Commissioners had approved Tupelo’s request in mid-December but didn’t sign the order until this week.
The city is the third in Northeast Mississippi since August to get Sunday liquor sales. Columbus and Starkville were first.
In October, Tupelo began allowing Sunday sales of beer and light wine. But the economic impact of the decision remains to be seen. Proponents said it would provide an economic boost, but some restaurateurs say that hasn’t been the case yet.
“Basically we went from not having anything to sell to having something available on Sunday, so that’s been helpful,” said vazVanelli, owner of Vanelli’s Restaurant. “But sales have not been overwhelming. We haven’t seen a tremendous economic impact. But in these times, anything we can do will help.”
Clyde Whitaker, a partner in Contemporary Restaurants LLC, which owns Old Venice Pizza and Varsity Grille in Tupelo, also said it hasn’t had much effect on the restaurants’ bottom lines.
“No, we’re not seeing a big impact at all,” he said. “But we want to be a restaurant with a bar, not a bar with a restaurant. The focus is on the food. But we wanted to have the ability to sell on Sundays so that we could attract the conventions. We just wanted to have that option available.”
Vanelli said that liquor and wine sales on Sunday might provide a bigger boost than beer, however.
“I think the wines will have more impact because wines go better with our meals,” he said.
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Emily Le Coz and Dennis Seid/NEM Daily Journal