Don Jose

Antonio Ruiz serves up a margarita at Don Jose Mexican Restaurant in Sebring. Alcohol sales in Sebring restaurants may now begin at 6 a.m. on Sundays.

SEBRING — The Sebring City Council voted 3-2 to start Sunday alcohol sales at 6 a.m., effective immediately. Councilmen Mark Stewart and Lenard Carlisle cast the dissenting votes, but the measure passed at Tuesday’s meeting.

Alcohol sales were previously prohibited between the hours of 2 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sundays. With the passage of the new ordinance, alcohol sales are now allowed beginning at 6 a.m. every day of the week.

The council had discussed the measure as a way to maintain some sort of conformity to the new ordinance passed by the Highlands County Board of County Commission on Jan. 8 that allows alcohol sales at 7 a.m. on Sundays.

At its Jan. 15 meeting, council members had discussed having alcohol sales begin at 7 a.m. on Sundays, but decided to start at 6 a.m. since alcohol sales begin at 6 a.m. Monday through Saturday within the city limits. A start time of 6 a.m. on Sunday will allow the sales to begin at the same time every day of the week, providing for less confusion.

Councilman Tom Dettman had expressed his support of the new ordinance at the Jan. 15 meeting and felt that it would allow restaurants in the city limits of Sebring to more effectively compete with restaurants in the county.

The current language of the ordinance reads, “All bars, dance halls, pool halls and bottle clubs located within the city limits wherein any beer, wine, liquor or alcoholic beverages are sold, served or consumed upon the premises shall be closed for business between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. every day ...

“No alcoholic beverages may be sold, consumed, served, or permitted to be served or consumed in any place holding a license issued by the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation of the State of Florida between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 every day.”

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