EDITORIAL: A modest delay

Oxford, whose widely known party inclinations are fed by alcohol, Ole Miss athletics and out-of-town tourists seeking a good time, on Tuesday night delayed indefinitely more action on experimenting with Sunday beer, whisky and wine sales in restaurants – on a decisive 6-1 vote of its Board of Aldermen.
Entertainment and dining have become mainstays of Oxford’s economy by intent and design.
In terms of community makeovers, Oxford surely ranks at the top of every list with its self transformation from a typical southern county seat, complete with a courthouse square, to what many visitors and residents know as a boutique small city. Its cafes, restaurants, clubs and bars blend effortlessly with upscale retailing and residences around and near the court square.
Every external indicator points to profit and prosperity.
The high-intensity provision of the good life, however, is at maximum speed, as some residents told the board at Tuesday’s public hearing.
Sunday, which is dry as a bone in all the places that sell alcohol the other six days, is also a quieter day because many of the restaurants and clubs are dark.
The restaurant association, through president Jerry Jordan, asked the aldermen to seek an exemption for July 4 and for the seven University of Mississippi home football weekends, which spill over from Saturday into Sunday in terms of hotel occupancy and tourism.
A few exceptions in the past have been sought and granted, but an exception for Valentine’s Day this year didn’t pass the tax commission. A storm delayed the Double Decker Festival in late May, and the event spilled into Sunday; thousands of people were left literally and figuratively high and dry. There was an outcry for Sunday sales after that episode.
Every community makes up its own mind about alcohol sales.
Oxford has chosen a deliberate approach to expanding sales, under specific limits, to Sundays.
The plan laid out on Tuesday would thoroughly explore possibilities: laws, scenarios and methods before deciding which approach, if any, is needed to get Sunday alcohol approved.
Oxford’s leaders have worked decades to make their city one of the most attractive small municipalities in the nation. While the economy hums with the entertainment and restaurant business, some people simply want Oxford to consider whether or not a seventh day of legal alcohol might be too rich a recipe.
The course adopted by the city board gives leaders until the deadline for local and private legislation in 2011. After 45 years of legal six-day alcohol, one more year of temporizing about Sunday seems reasonable.

NEMS Daily Journal

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