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Columbia City Council approves new alcohol code to include allowing to-go alcoholic drinks


The Columbia City Council approved to-go drinks for businesses and also extended the hours when alcohol is allowed to be sold on Sundays.

City Code Change for Liquor Codes

The Columbia City Council voted in favor to bring the city's code in line with state liquor laws.

Those laws went into effect on Aug. 28.

On July 7, Governor Mike Parson signed Senate Bill 126 into law. The measure made changes to the state's liquor laws, which affected hours of sale and the ability to sell alcoholic to-go drinks.

The updated city code allows:

  • Liquor stores can sell alcohol that can be consumed on its location
  • Changes in hours of sale for alcohol
  • Permanently allowing to-go alcoholic drinks
  • Having a start time for liquor sales for non-profit organizations who host special events

New changes to the code allow people to buy alcohol in its original packaging between the hours of 6 a.m. on Sunday until 1:30 a.m. on Monday. This is a change from the current Sunday hours of 9 a.m. until midnight.

“Extending the hours in my opinion is good for businesses, it's good for everybody including liquor stores and including restaurants," said Billy Giordano, owner of Room 38.

Not all owners are strongly supporting the possible new law. Sunny Patel, owner of NoGas on Hitt St., said nobody is going to come in and drink on Sundays.

Patel said he doesn't plan on changing his hours and doesn't expect other liquor stores to change theirs either.

Restaurants, bars and hotels now have the option to apply for a license to sell alcohol during these same hours.

One requirement for the sale of to-go alcoholic drinks is the purchase of a meal. The ordinance states an individual can purchase two alcoholic drinks for every one to-go meal purchased.

Giordano says Room 38 would love to have the opportunity to sell to-go drinks. He says it would benefit businesses, especially those who are recovering from the pandemic.

Warming Center Proposal

The City of Columbia's Commission on Human Rights asked Columbia City Council to make a temporary temperature opening change to the Wabash Emergency Warming Center.

Currently, warming centers in Columbia open when the temperature drops to nine degrees.

The Commission on Human Rights for Columbia is asking the city council to raise the opening temperature for the Wabash Emergency Warming Center to 18 degrees.

In a letter to council members, the commission said it has been gathering information about Columbia's homeless population and resources required for the Wabash Emergency Warming Center.

The commission said if the change was put into place last year, it would have allowed the warming center to be open for an additional seven days.

That breaks down to an extra night in December, two nights in January, and four nights in February.

The letter to the city council said a temporary opening temperature change would allow Columbia to reevaluate its resources for staffing before potentially deciding to permanently implement this change.

At Monday's meeting, city manager, John Glascock, advised council members not to take any action on this matter because "it could violate federal funds."

Glascock was not in favor of extending the hours and council members decided to look further into a staff report before making any decisions.

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Meghan Drakas

Meghan joined ABC 17 News in January 2021.
The Penn State grad is from the Philadelphia suburbs where she interned with several local TV stations.

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Chanel Porter

Chanel joined ABC 17 News in January 2021 after graduating from Penn State University. She enjoys traveling and a daily iced coffee.


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