Florence City Council gives first approval to alcohol sales ballot question

FLORENCE, S.C. – The Florence City Council moved a step closer to allowing city residents to vote to let retailers sell alcohol on Sundays.

The City Council voted 7-0 Monday afternoon to approve an ordinance asking the Florence election board to place a ballot question allowing Sunday off-premises alcohol sales on the November general election ballot.

Mayor Teresa Myers Ervin said she would be voting no on the question but added city residents deserve to make the choice.

Bryan Braddock said with his history of addictions he was leery of allowing the sales. He added the only way to keep someone from being addicted to alcohol is to help them develop their faith in Jesus Christ.

Braddock previously told the Morning News he has been addicted to opioids and cocaine before finding Christ. He was pardoned from four felonies by the governor to run for mayor and City Council.

William Schofield asked people on Facebook last month if they would like to be able to vote on the issue. He added he would be voting yes on the referendum. Most people who responded said yes they wanted the choice, and they would be voting yes.

Schofield said after the meeting he was glad the vote to give people a choice was unanimous.

The ordinance is the latest in a series of ordinances making it easier to purchase alcohol on Sundays. The Florence County Council considered and approved a similar ordinance allowing for on-premises alcohol sales in 2018 and that ordinance was approved by the voters.

The city of Johnsonville also considered a similar ordinance this month.

Darlington also has approved a similar ordinance.

And in 2008, city voters approved a proposal allowing the drinking of alcohol at businesses in the city on Sundays (on-premises sales).

The city’s ordinance will likely be up for second and final approval at the council’s March meeting.

Article by Matthew Christian of Florence Morning News.