SOUTH CAROLINA — The group that helped lead successful efforts for seven-day alcohol sales at restaurants locally wants to add Sunday sales of beer and wine at grocery and convenience stores in York County.
In Lancaster County, a group wants to add Sunday alcohol sales at restaurants.
If each group gets the required number of registered voters to sign petitions, the questions will appear on the November 2012 ballot.
Each group said they want to extend sales because York and Lancaster counties lose sales to North Carolina where there are no restrictions. Allowing sales could help businesses keep employees and possibly add more, they said.
"Future growth, this is the only way it will start," said Elissa Boyet, leader of the Lancaster County effort.
The Committee of Citizens & Business for York County announced its petition drive Thursday with the support of the York County Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Tega Cay Chamber of Commerce.
The group started this drive more than a year in advance of the election to make sure it has the required 7,500 registered-voter signatures in York County to place the question on the ballot. The Lancaster effort, which needs about 4,000 signatures, started this past summer.
The number of signatures is based on a percent of the number of registered voters in a county.
Chet Miller, co-chair of the York County effort, said he does not anticipate any objections to extending wine and beer sales. The effort does not cover retail hard liquor sales on Sunday, which will continue to be prohibited.
The York County group was formed for the 2006 referendum that led to Sunday, on-premise alcohol sales at restaurants in Rock Hill. In 2008, the group helped with the referendum that extended the on-premise Sunday sales to York County restaurants.
In previous campaigns, opposition claimed extending sales would increase the number of people driving under the influence of alcohol. Miller said that has not happened.
Some preachers have opposed previous referendums on religious grounds.
Miller said extending wine and beer sales will result in more money for York County. The annual, per-establishment fee is $1,000. He estimated there are 212 grocery and convenience stores that could apply for the license. If most apply, that means about $200,000 coming to the York County government. The figure does not include additional sales tax revenue.
Tega Cay residents passed a beer-and-wine Sunday sales question in 2008.