GREENFIELD — Closed on Sundays, the sign on Greenfield Liquor’s door tells shoppers. But not for long.
On Wednesday, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law Senate Enrolled Act 1, which overturns Indiana’s decades-long ban on selling carryout alcohol on Sundays.
The law goes into effect immediately, and for the first time in Indiana history, Hoosiers will be able to pick up alcohol on Sunday.
Beginning this weekend, Hoosiers can purchase booze at liquor stores, pharmacies, convenience stores and big-box retailers, including Kroger and Walmart, from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.
After decades of failed attempts to rewrite the Prohibition-era Sunday sales law, industry rivals who battled past efforts got on board this session, The Associated Press reported.
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Republican Statehouse leaders also made passing the bill a priority. When the bill passed the Senate last week, Holcomb said he wouldn’t let too many Sundays pass before making the law official.
Now, some local liquor stores are planning to open their doors this weekend, while others say they’re in no hurry to make the switch. Walmart, Kroger and Meijer will roll back the barriers that have historically blocked shoppers from strolling through their liquor and beer aisles.
Walmart already has announced its Indiana stores will be ready to sell booze this Sunday.
Meijer in McCordsville and Kroger in Greenfield also confirmed plans to make the immediate switch.
Greenfield Liquors, 1208 N. State St., and Crown Liquors are among the stores preparing to keep the shelves stocked and open their doors.
Lizan Brand, manager of Greenfield Liquors, said she’s been keeping an eye on the issue all session.
Sunday, the store, which has called Greenfield home for nearly 40 years, will open at noon. Customers can stop in to purchase alcohol until the store closes at 6 p.m., she said.
And the store will stay open for Sundays in the future, except Easter and Christmas if those holidays happen to fall on a Sunday, she said.
“We’re looking forward to serving the community,” Brand said. “It will be interesting to see how it pans out.”
Across town, Chilly’s Liquor owner Steve Coram said he has no plans to open on Sundays.
He won’t ask his employees to give up another day they could spend with their families in order to be at his store, 1252 W. Main St.
Coram said he’s not ruling out opening on Sundays permanently, but for now, he won’t open his doors. His employees work too hard Monday through Saturday, hauling cases and being on their feet for hours. They deserve the break Sunday brings, Coram said.
“Sunday is a day to be with family,” he said. “I could be wrong, but you’ve got to stand for something.”
The store doesn’t stand to gain much financially from being open Sundays anyhow, he said.
Liquor store representatives have long feared they’d lose business to big-box stores if they were to open on Sundays, one of the biggest shopping days of the week.
If Hoosiers can pick up beer while grocery shopping, they won’t make the extra stop just to shop local, they argued.
Lawmakers heard those concerns and granted liquor stores one advantage — they’re the only stores where you can buy cold beer on Sunday.
Coram said store employees have been telling patrons the store won’t open on Sundays, and so far, he hasn’t heard much pushback.
Richard Byrd of Hancock County, who visited Crown Liquors Tuesday to pick up some wine, said the news means Indiana is moving into the 21st century.
“Finally,” he said. “Blue laws are a thing of the past.”
Indiana has restricted Sunday alcohol sales since becoming a state 202 years ago, though some Sunday sales were allowed for people passing through until the practice was banned in the 1850s, The Associated Press reported.
Even after the United States passed the 21st Amendment, overturning Prohibition in 1933, Indiana kept its Sunday sales ban in place.
Wednesday, the state became the 41st state to allow Sunday sales, The Assocaited Press reported.
Hoosiers long have asked lawmakers to change the law, but until this year, bills doing so never gained much steam.
Holcomb held a ceremony Wednesday afternoon to sign the bill into law and said lifting the ban is about consumers.
“They were asking, ‘Why not?’” Holcomb said. “There’s no need to cross the border anymore in the state of Indiana. Buy local.”
Now, about 3,800 stores across the state will be allowed to sell alcohol on Sunday, though the law change isn’t expected to have significant impact on alcoholic beverage sales, according to the state’s legislative services agency.