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7/12/2013 New law allows liquor sales at 10 a.m. on Sundays
Bill aims to help stores near Connecticut border compete with new hours there

STATE HOUSE – Liquor stores may now open two hours earlier on Sundays, thanks to a new law sponsored by Sen. Paul W. Fogarty and Rep. Samuel A. Azzinaro.

In 2004, Rhode Island passed a law allowing liquor stores to open on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m., after Massachusetts lifted its ban on Sunday sales earlier that year. Last year, Connecticut allowed its stores to begin selling liquor on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Senator Fogarty and Representative Azzinaro, who both represent districts on the Connecticut border, said they introduced the bill to prevent Rhode Island liquor stores, particularly those near the border, from losing business to others states between 10 a.m. and noon. The legislation (2013-S 799, 2013-H 5183) was passed by the General Assembly on July 3, and was signed into law by Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee today. It took effect immediately.

“It’s very frustrating for small business owners in border towns to try to compete with stores a just a couple of miles away that can be open at hours when Rhode Island stores are ordered to be closed. As far as the state itself is concerned, there’s no real reason it has to be noon in Rhode Island. That’s arbitrary. But it makes a difference to the liquor store owner who is losing sales during that time,” said Senator Fogarty (D-Dist. 23, Glocester, Burrillville, North Smithfield.)

Said Representative Azzinaro (D-Dist. 37, Westerly), “Rhode Island needs to do everything it can to help its small businesses. One important factor in that effort is to make sure we’re not handicapping them against their competition just over the border. Given Rhode Island’s small size, it’s relatively easy for people in any part of the state, but especially those in the border towns, to just drive past the stores in our state if there’s a better deal next door. This law gets rid of an unnecessary disadvantage for small businesses in our state.”

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923