April 15, The Rexburg City Council passed a bill that permits restaurants in the city to sell beer and wine on Sundays.
Prior to the passing of this bill, restaurants were only allowed to sell beer and wine Monday through Saturday. Rexburg still does not allow the selling of hard alcohol at all.
Council Member Chris Mann was one of two people to vote against the bill.
Mann said he has been on the city council for 10 years and that when he joined, a woman asked him if he was going to do anything to liberalize the drinking laws in Rexburg.
“I said no, and I’ve stuck with that,” Mann said. “So, when the beer and wine on Sundays sales came up, I was opposed to it.”
Mann said he voted against the bill because he did not agree with the expansion of the preexisting liquor laws.
“I think Rexburg is a unique community, and being unique and different has served us well economically and socially over the years,” Mann said. “I see very little reason to change our laws from what they have been.”
Corey Barnard, manager of Applebee’s in Rexburg, said that before the bill was passed, he was frustrated about not being able to have beer and wine on the menu for Sundays.
Barnard said many guests were disappointed when they realized they could not purchase the drinks they wanted on Sundays.
“From a business perspective, we serve everyone in the community, and we deliver the same hospitality to everybody, no matter what their personal beliefs are,” Barnard said.
Barnard said about 80 percent of Applebee’s workforce is made of BYU-Idaho students and that he truly values that.
Mann said this was not an anti-drinking law or a pro-drinking law.
“We allow beer and wine sales in Rexburg,” Mann said. “But selling beer and wine has only been able to be sold Monday-Saturday, which has also been a tradition with some of our surrounding communities.”
Mann said he believes the alcohol laws were working just how they were.
“Even though I opposed it, I don’t think it’s the end of the world,” Mann said. “I think it’s a move in the wrong direction, but I think that we will be just fine.”