Connecticut liquor stores are sure to be busy Saturday because after that, they will by state mandate be closed until Tuesday.
And it will be the same situation next weekend -- after celebrating the new year Sunday, liquor stores will again be closed that Monday.
The State Liquor Control Act determines when Connecticut liquor stores, bars, restaurants, hotels and other establishments may sell or serve alcoholic liquor, and Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein is outlining the law’s requirements as they apply to the days surrounding Christmas, 2011 and New Year’s Day, 2012.
Because the Christmas and New Year’s holidays fall on Sundays this year, additional restrictions apply, Rubenstein said.
“We typically receive many inquiries from liquor retailers, police officers, and the general public about this matter, so I want to ensure that buyers and sellers understand what the law says,” Rubenstein said. “According to Section 30-91d of the Connecticut General Statutes, when Christmas Day and New Year’s Day fall on Sunday, retail sales of liquor on that Sunday and the following Monday are prohibited. In short, package stores will not be open on December 26th or on January 2nd.”
While grocery stores may be open those days, they may not sell beer.
Several people who visited on Whitney Avenue Friday said they had no idea that liquor stores would be closed both Monday and the day after New Years, and most said they didn't understand why.
"I don't know why they are doing that," said Hamden resident Scott Arrons as he carried out a shopping cart full of bottles that will be given Sunday as gifts. "It seems to me that it doesn't do anything but make the liquor stores lose out on a day of sales."
"I'll bet there are going to be some pretty mad people Monday looking to buy beer and stuff and find the stores closed," said Robert Markum of Cheshire. "I would never have even imagined they would be closed Monday."
"Makes no sense at all," Maryanne LeBarr said. "But that's government for you."
The following is a summary of the days and hours during which liquor may be sold over the holidays:
- Christmas Eve, Saturday, 12/24: Liquor stores and grocery stores with beer permits may sell during normal hours. Bars, restaurants and cafes may serve until 2 a.m. 12/25.
- Christmas Day, Sunday, 12/25 and Monday, 12/26: Package stores closed both days, grocery stores may be open but the sale of beer is prohibited.
- Christmas Day, Sunday, 12/25: Restaurants, bars, cafes, casinos (food must be available) may serve as permit allows for normal operation.
- New Year’s Eve, Saturday, 12/31: Liquor stores and grocery stores with beer permits may sell during normal hours. Bars, restaurants and cafes may serve until 3 a.m. 1/1
- New Year’s Day, Sunday 1/1 and Monday 1/2: Package stores closed both days, grocery stores may be open but the sale of beer is prohibited.
- New Year’s Day, Sunday 1/1: Restaurants, bars, cafes, casinos (food must be available) may serve as permit allows for normal operation.
“Connecticut law allows drinks to be sold until 3:00 a.m. on the morning of January 1,” Rubenstein said. “However, any town, by vote or local ordinance, may have reduced its locally permissible hours; in such towns, the reduced hours mandated by local governance take precedence over State law.”
Retail sales of beer, alcoholic liquor and wine at package stores and grocery stores are permitted until 9:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, although stores may close earlier if they choose.
Rubenstein is asking the public to be thoughtful and cautious over the holidays.
“I’d like to urge everyone to guard against needless tragedy – please drink responsibly, don’t drink and drive, and don’t serve or provide alcohol to anyone under the age of 21 during this holiday season,” Rubenstein said. “Our best wishes to everyone for a happy, healthy and safe holiday.”
The Department of Consumer Protection, through the State Liquor Control Commission, oversees all sales of liquor in the State of Connecticut. As Commissioner of Consumer Protection, Rubenstein is Chairman of the Liquor Control Commission.