PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - Sunday marks the first time in decades you could get a drink before noon in Punta Gorda. The City Council lifted restrictions on Sunday sales in hopes of generating more business for local bars and restaurants. But the relaxed restrictions on Sunday alcohol service aren't being welcomed by everyone.
Throwing back a Bloody Mary with your brunch is now an option in Punta Gorda. A longstanding ordinance previously banned bars from serving before noon on Sundays, but after over 40 years, the old ordinance was officially given the boot.
"If I'm going to have a Bloody Mary, I'm going to have one whether it's at my house or at a restaurant. I'm still going to have one. So I think it's a good idea, helps the economy," tourist Buzz Cannon said over a drink Sunday.
That's just the reasoning Punta Gorda's City Council used to back the relaxed restrictions. The council voted to lift the ordinance in an effort to give local restaurants a head start in sales for the day.
"With the economy the way it is, us restaurants around here do whatever it takes to help that out and to make more money all around," John Rivera of Jack's Restaurant in Punta Gorda said.
While restaurants are welcoming the extra income, earlier alcohol sales aren't settling well with everyone. Some in the church community fear the loosened restrictions will bring nothing but trouble.
"I don't see what it's going to gain even for the businesses. I don't see anything to gain but creating more problems," Dominic DiNino of Peace River Baptist Church said Sunday.
While alcohol will start flowing earlier in Punta Gorda from here on out, some say the new rules won't shake up anything...but their drink.
"If people are controlling themselves, and your in a nice establishment like this, and you're just having it with your brunch, then why is there a problem?" Cannon said.