Warner Robins Voters Have the Opportunity to Level the Playing Field for Sunday Brunch

Now thru election day, Warner Robins voters can make a significant impact on the Sunday brunch scene. The City Council has placed a measure on the ballot, giving citizens the power to decide. Let’s take a moment to understand the backstory.

In 2017, Gov. Nathan Deal signed Senate Bill 17, also known as the Brunch Bill. This bill allows on-premise alcohol consumption to start at 11:00 a.m. on Sundays. However, it doesn’t include off-premise consumption, like alcohol sales in grocery stores.

This referendum particularly affects local restaurants, which would gain an extra hour and a half of alcohol business on Sundays. Surrounding communities, including Perry, Centerville, and Macon, have already embraced the Brunch Bill. This is about more than just mimosas; it’s an issue of economic fairness and creating a level playing field for all businesses in the area. That’s why the Robins Regional Chamber is endorsing this measure.

According to the Georgia Restaurant Association, this change in alcohol sales could bring in an additional $25,000 per year for each restaurant. That’s not something we can ignore.

“Ensuring the success and vitality of our business community is our top priority at the Robins Regional Chamber,” says April Bragg, President & CEO. Passing the Brunch Bill would establish economic fairness, meet customer expectations, attract visitors, and more.

Imagine being able to enjoy a mimosa at 11:00 a.m. in a restaurant on one side of Watson, only to find out you have to wait an additional hour and a half to get the same drink right across the street. Bragg says that this imbalance not only puts our Warner Robins businesses at a disadvantage but also confuses customers and diminishes their overall experience. It’s time for a change.

The Chamber’s BOSS Food Pros group fully supports this change. This dedicated group of locally-owned restaurateurs, bakers, and culinary creators believes that the earlier time for alcohol sales will encourage customers to come in earlier, boosting overall restaurant sales. 

Cathy Reece, owner of Props Steak & Seafood, the 2022 Robins Regional Chamber Business of the Year, knows firsthand the impact this change can have. “Every single Sunday, we have to explain to people we can’t sell alcohol until 12:30 p.m.,” Reece explains. “To be able to get an earlier start will definitely help, increasing sales and community pride.”

Gracie Rigby of Gracie’s: A Rooftop Bar, the 2021 Robins Regional Chamber Emerging Business of the Year, agrees. “This is great news for our brunch-serving restaurants and those who want a beverage with their brunch,” says Rigby. As a member of the BOSS group and the Chamber’s board of directors, she recognizes the vital role played by these local establishments in supporting schools, nonprofit organizations, and more. More revenue for them means more opportunities for the community as a whole.

On November 7th, registered City of Warner Robins voters will have the chance to vote on this referendum. The Chamber urges everyone to show up and vote YES for the bill. The official language on the ballot will be: “Shall the governing authority of the City of Warner Robins, Georgia be authorized to permit and regulate Sunday sales of distilled spirits or alcoholic beverages for beverage purposes by the drink from 11:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M.?”

Registered voters can cast their votes in person on or before Election Day. Early voting runs from October 16th to November 3rd, Monday through Friday, with additional Saturdays available. Early voting polls are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. To check your eligibility and learn more about what’s on your ballot, simply download the GA Votes app or visit the My Voter Page at www.mvp.sos.ga.gov.