By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer
Clovis residents will decide during the March 4 municipal elections whether to give restaurants the ability to serve alcohol on Sundays.
While restaurant owners and managers say Sunday alcohol sales will help their bottom line, some Clovis residents argue the cost will be passed on to the community in increased DWIs and alcoholism.
A local group’s petition collected more than the required signatures to put its proposal to allow Sunday alcohol sales in bars and restaurants, according to the county and city officials.
The group Committee for Clovis Progress started the petition in October, hoping to lift the ban on Sunday alcohol sales. The group’s spokesman Robin Howe said Clovis residents should have the right to decide for themselves if they want to have alcohol in restaurants on Sundays.
But some Clovis residents say plenty of alcohol is sold during the week.
Linda Teakell, a DWI instructor at CRC Educational Services DWI School, said Sunday alcohol sales will only give problem drinkers more access to alcohol.
“We see the devastating cost and the devastating effects on all of that to the community and to society,” she said. “It costs us all so much that increased sale of alcohol will increase the cost to the society as a whole.”
Restaurant owners and managers said the proposal gives them a chance to offer something most of their patrons would go out of town to get on Sundays.
Dakota’s Steakhouse owner Jim Clark said his business barely stayed afloat during 10 months while waiting for its liquor license.
“I’m telling you, we didn’t know if we were going to make it at Dakota’s … Once we get our beer and wine license, our sales increased.
It’s not so much that they increased because we had beer and wine, but we attracted those lost sales that left because we didn’t offer that,” he said.
He said the added profit from alcohol sales isn’t what some restaurant owners are banking on, but attracting customers who would go to other places where alcohol is served.
“I really think for us to survive economically, we’re going to have play like they do in the big cities,” said Clark, whose restaurant opened in February 2007.
But Teakell said the money isn’t worth the cost of lives that alcohol affects.
“Bottom line in this whole issue is just money, money, money,” she said. “We’ll let them collect that dollar and sell alcohol on Sundays, and then we will pay through the nose, Sunday through Saturday in all the extreme ill effects, and all of the problems we have as a result of those who drink.”