After decades of prohibiting the purchase of liquor on Sundays, the city of Rochelle is now open for alcohol sales seven days a week. A move that liquor stores say is well overdue.
"I've had a lot of people move into town from other parts of the state and they say ‘what's the deal with no liquor sales on Sunday? We've never heard of such a thing.’ Being on my side of it, I can't see why it wasn't seven days a week”, says Sunset Liquor General Manager Leonard Dewey.
The approval for Sunday alcohol sales came quickly. Rochelle city council approved the ordinance last Monday by a vote of 6-1 and decided to put it into effect immediately. Despite the ordinance passing, some community members and local churches opposed the change.
Pastor Jim Tilley of Rochelle’s First Presbyterian Church says, "I was disappointed in a way because I felt this was a golden opportunity to make a positive message to the community of Rochelle and say that we're bigger than this and we don't need to make alcohol sales the center of our life. We can take a break and step back.”
Rochelle's bars and liquor stores now have a 12-hour window from 11 a-m to 11 p-m to sell on Sundays. Some business owners say the extra day of sales could come at a cost, keeping establishments from staying open all week.
"By the time you pay your bartender and replace your stock, you gotta have a pretty decent day. You can't just open up one Sunday and expect to find out what's gonna happen. We're just gonna have to wait and see what it does”, says owner of Da-Place Roger Martin.
Bars and liquor stores are not required to open on Sundays under the new ordinance, and they will still have a choice on when they open.