Ely says 'no' to Sunday liquor sales

Making purchases
Starting July 1, liquor stores across Minnesota will be allowed to open on Sundays. Ely voted against Sunday sales.
Jeffrey Thompson | MPR News 2014

Liquor stores will open on Sundays across Minnesota on July 1 — but not everywhere. A provision added to the Sunday sales law during the recent special Legislative session allows cities to regulate what days liquor sales are allowed. Some already have ordinances that may stay in place.

That's the case in Ely, where the City Council decided not to take up a change, at the request of three liquor stores in town.

"The ma-and-pa shops don't want to be open on Sunday, mostly. They want a day off," Ely Mayor Chuck Novak said. "The amount of business they would have on Sundays would probably be a money loser in small towns."

Novak said the owners don't appear to be worried about competition from cities that do have Sunday sales because they're too far away.

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"Duluth passed it, that's 100 some miles away. Virginia is 50 miles away. We don't have any area towns close enough where that has an impact," he said.

Novak said there wasn't much discussion about Sunday sales, but that the council would consider reversing its decision if enough people spoke in favor of it.

Click on the audio player above to hear their conversation.

Correction (June 13, 2017): The City Council agreed to leave its ordinance banning Sunday sales in place. A previous version said they voted on it. The story has been updated.