Brevard County relaxes Sunday liquor restrictions

Hard liquor sales can now start at 7 a.m. instead of 1 p.m.

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Liquor store and bar owner Jeremy Norcross says it's been a long wait. But he's pleased that the county rules have changed for alcohol sales on Sundays.

Spurred by an April request from Norcross, the Brevard County Commission gave final approval last week to an ordinance change to allow the sale of hard liquor as early as 7 a.m. on Sundays in unincorporated sections of the county, Florida Today reports.

Until the rule change was approved, beer and wine sales were allowed as early as 7 a.m. Sundays, but sales of bottles of hard liquor, liquor shots and mixed drinks made with hard liquor were not permitted before 1 p.m. on Sundays. The rule affects not only liquor stores and bars, but also restaurants and grocery stores.

A representative of a competing liquor store complained to the county about Norcross selling liquor at his Viera business, Florida Wine & Spirits, before 1 p.m. on Sundays, and the Brevard County Sheriff's Office paid Norcross a visit. So Norcross in March reduced his Sunday hours to comply with the county rule, but also decided to contact county commissioners to see about getting the rule changed.

After a seven-month process, the County Commission unanimously approved the final rule change, after an Oct. 22 public hearing during which no one objected. The new permitted hours of liquor sales are 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. seven days a week.

Norcross said, with pro football season underway, the change couldn't come at a better time.

"We're happy they gave us an even playing field," Norcross said, noting that hours for liquor sales on Sundays had been less restrictive in many Brevard County cities that had their own rules. Also, a retailer is investigated for violating the county rule only when a complaint is filed by a member of the public, and Norcross felt some restaurants and bars in Viera and other parts of unincorporated Brevard were ignoring the rule on Sunday liquor sales, since no one complained about them.

"I'm happy that they're getting it straight, and we're back to business as usual," Norcross said, noting that many pro football fans like to get settled in with their beverage of choice before watching a game. "You can't open at 1 o'clock, if the games start at 1 o'clock."

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