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Atlantans Likely to Vote on Booze at Sunday Brunch in November

Atlanta city council proposes ‘Brunch Bill’ referendum be placed on the November ballot

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Beth McKibben is the editor and staff reporter for Eater Atlanta and has been covering food and cocktails locally and regionally for 12 years.

Atlantans could be sipping a bit of booze with their pre-noon Sunday brunch by Thanksgiving. Or, at least, that’s the plan if the Atlanta city council votes to allow for a referendum to be placed on the November 6 ballot calling for a public vote on Senate Bill 17 (SB 17)—aka the “Sunday Brunch Bill” or “mimosa mandate”.

City council president Felicia Moore says the referendum will likely be on the November 6 ballot in Atlanta as the council is in the process of making that happen.

According to a report by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the Atlanta city council introduced two ordinances calling for a referendum to be voted on by the public and for it to be placed on the ballot in November. The council could vote to approve these measures as early as July 2.

In early May, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law Senate Bill 17. The new law allows restaurants in communities throughout Georgia where Sunday alcohol sales are permitted to begin selling beer, wine, and cocktails at 11 a.m. rather than waiting until 12:30 p.m. However, residents in these communities must vote to allow the sale of alcohol at restaurants on Sunday mornings via a local referendum.

Officials in communities across the state have between 30 and 60 days from May 8, the date Gov. Deal signed SB 17 into law, to call for a local referendum.

As the cost of living and doing business in Atlanta continues to increase, the new law could significantly impact the bottom lines of the city’s restaurants and, in the process, provide a much-needed economic boost for hundreds of Atlanta restaurant workers.

Jennifer Johnson, co-owner of West Egg Cafe, The General Muir, The Canteen, and the forthcoming Wood’s Chapel BBQ in Summerhill, told Eater Atlanta in March, “There are real people at each restaurant immediately affected by the passage of this bill. I believe it could net servers an extra $20 to $30 in tips each Sunday for the same number of hours of work. That’s a several dollar an hour raise.”

Update, June 26, 9 a.m.: This story was updated to reflect information provided by Atlanta city council president Felicia Moore.