Business has been steady and good so far’
The first Sunday liquor sales by stores got cautiously underway yesterday, with many shoppers unsure of whether it had actually become legal.
Decried by some and welcomed by others, the relaxing of the law resulted in simply another regular day of business for most retailers contacted by The Royal Gazette.
“It’s better than nothing, I guess,” said St George’s salesman Alfonso Harris, whose shop Churchill’s on York Street was selling liquor yesterday.
“A lot of people don’t know that it’s legal,” Mr Harris added. “Some people are glad that it is. We are. We will have to see what happens.”
For Court Street Liquors in Hamilton, the first Sunday sales in the two-decade history of the business proceeded without fanfare.
“Yes, we open at 10am and sales have been going ahead,” a cashier said. “Business has been steady and good so far.”
The change in the law — known formally as the Liquor Licence Amendment Act 2013 — didn’t result in any rush to the stores.
“It’s just the same,” the cashier added. “We can’t really tell until we have a look at the figures.”
Corkscrews on Middle Road, Smith’s reported a good day of sales.
“Business has been fairly good,” said Mark Stemphlet, owner of the store. “It’s definitely worth it for us.”
He said: “You have to go ahead and do it first before you can tell. And people have to realise that you’re open on Sunday. A lot of people don’t know about it yet. Quite a few of them saw the sign that we were open and popped in saying they had no idea the law had passed. A lot of people have been calling to check.”
Two supermarkets that typically see busy days of Sunday sales, the Supermart and Miles Market, each had their liquor sections open for trade yesterday.
Managers at both stores weren’t available for comment, but staff said management would have a clear picture by today when the Sunday takings were added up.
Arnold’s Express on Front Street, another Sunday stalwart, was bringing in a normal day’s business, according to manager on duty JB Puti.
“It’s the same customers that come in here on ordinary days,” Mr Puti said.
“But there have been some calls from customers who are really just confirming if we actually do sell today. It seems like everybody is not aware of it.”
Under the law, the store — which closes at midnight — quit serving alcohol at the regular cut-off time of 9pm.
“There are some unfamiliar faces coming in,” Mr Puti conceded. “So possibly we have a few new customers. I wouldn’t say as many as expected. Maybe next week.”
Arnold’s Liquors on Somerset Road in Sandys was also making sales, according to an employee, who said there wasn’t an unusual level of trade coming in.
“There haven’t been too many, but we’re open. Maybe people didn’t really know. We only put out the sign that we’d be open a few days ago.”
In Smith’s, the Harrington Hundreds supermarket reported a number of customers as pleasantly surprised.
“We’re not getting too many, but people seem quite excited,” an employee said.
“My first customer today came up to the counter with a bottle asking if he could buy. He even said he’d come back for a six-pack. I think people are very appreciative.”
She added: “Some people really didn’t know. One lady said her husband had asked her to pick up a bottle of wine and she’d been under the impression that she wasn’t allowed to. She said ‘Really?’
“It’s catching on. For this first day it’s pretty good. It’s not overwhelming like it is during the week, but it’s going on.”
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