For the first time ever on a Sunday, people in Rogers County were allowed to buy liquor at restaurants.
El Maguey in Claremore had to call in more servers for the day because of how busy the restaurant was.
“I mean we’re always busy on Sunday, but today we got super busy,” said Chantal Vidal.
Vidal wasn’t complaining about the rush and neither were the customers.
“We thought, ‘Oh, it’d be nice to go to a Mexican restaurant and have, in my case, a margarita,” said T. Gavin King.
King and his son can do that legally in their hometown now because on June 24, voters in Rogers County passed Proposition 1, a new law that says people don’t have to just stick to low-point beer anymore.
“I showed up to vote for that and I am glad it passed. I think it’ll have a very good effect tax-wise. I think a lot of money is going to be available through taxes that were not available before,” King said.
Supporters of the new law said Claremore alone was losing more than $11 million in restaurant and drink sales each year to nearby counties. That equates to about $350,000 in taxes that could have gone to the city.
Vidal said she was also losing out on business.
“Every Sunday they would ask us, ‘Why? Why can you serve beer? Why not serve a margarita?’ Some people would just take off and not stay,” Vidal said.
If the first Sunday was a sign of the future, customers are finding more convenience in being able to drink close to home.
“They don’t have to go nowhere. Now they’re staying here,” Vidal said.
Vidal said she’ll probably have to hire more staff if every Sunday remains very busy from now on.
The new law also makes it legal for restaurants to sell liquor on Thanksgiving and Christmas.