Maybe you've run into this problem before: You meet friends for Sunday brunch, but the bottomless mimosas, and tasty cocktails have to wait until 11 a.m.! Thanks to "blue laws," that's been the case in Pinellas County, until now.
A "blue law" is a rule prohibiting certain activities, like drinking, on Sundays. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has been fighting to change those laws to allow liquor sales starting at 8 a.m. on Sundays.
"It's a social requirement these days. On the weekend, everyone goes to brunch," says Eric Shippie, assistant manager at The Oyster Bar on Central Avenue in St. Pete.
They don't mess around on Sundays, starting brunch at 10 a.m., even though they can't serve their bottomless mimosas until 11. So, doing away with the blue laws is a good thing for them. "It's very exciting. It's definitely going to open up a lot of possibilities. Yeah ... we're excited at the Oyster Bar about it."
"Let's be honest, this isn't 1817, this is 2017. The time for blue laws is long passed," says Kriseman. He has been fighting for this change for almost a year. He feels like it can only help the businesses and restaurants along beach drive and downtown. "It's a great way of just enjoying a Sunday, a beautiful day in a beautiful city. You know, have a nice leisurely brunch. Enjoy a mimosa, relax and enjoy what makes this community so special."
It's up to each city in Pinellas County now to decide if they will opt in to the new ordinance. In St. Pete, the mayor says it will still be a few weeks before you'll be able order that bloody mary before 11 a.m. on Sunday. "I've got my staff already working on getting an ordinance ready to bring in front of council to match what the county has done."
Hillsborough County still has blue laws. You can't buy or serve alcohol there on Sundays until 11 a.m.