A city divided: Should alcohol be served on Sundays?

City leaders in Sumter are one step closer from allowing voters to decide if alcohol should be sold on Sundays.

SUMTER, SC (WACH) - City leaders in Sumter are one step closer to allowing voters to decide if alcohol should be sold on Sundays.

The first reading took place on Tuesday night with Sumter City Council voting 6-1.

However, citizens in the community are split when it comes to a decision.

"It would benefit the local restaurants in Sumter," said Danielle Thompson, owner of Hamptons in downtown Sumter. "It will give them a sales opportunity on a Sunday that they do not have currently."

Aside from the increase in revenue, Thompson says other opportunities such as jobs and economic developments are at stake. She says businesses will come into downtown, and customers will want to dine.

Nonetheless, while the restaurant owner looks at it from a business perspective, other citizens do not agree.

Ferdinand Burns agrees with Councilman Calvin Hastie, the only council member opposed. Burns argues council should refocus its attention on youth community centers other than allowing alcohol on Sundays.

"They cannot go there to play basketball or get anything, they are closed," said Burns. "They can open up the flood gates for alcohol on Sundays, but they can't have access, our youth that is, to the three hope centers on Saturdays."

Both Councilman Hastie and Burns fear the impact alcohol could have on violence in the community.

"We are the laughing stock of the country already. We can carry guns into a bar where alcohol is being served. You can't control a person who goes into a bar with a weapon and say they are not going to drink, you can't control that," said Burns.

Members of the council will make a second reading on the ordinance at the next meeting.

If the ordinance is passed, voters will head to the polls in November to determine if alcohol will be served on Sundays in Sumter.