Clarendon County residents could be buying beer and wine on Sundays as early as the Christmas holiday, according to Clarendon County Administrator David Epperson.
Epperson turned in all information Monday to the state Department of Revenue and the state commission in charge of alcohol licensing.
"We had to compile the certified results from the Nov. 8 ballot where the Sunday Sales Referendum passed by a large margin," Epperson said. "Once the state agency inputs that data and information, and once our name is listed on their website as available for the Sunday permit, businesses may then begin to apply for it."
County Council members verified the vote result during their Nov. 14 regular meeting.
"The total number of ballots cast were 12,100, with 7,136 in favor, while 4,165 were opposed," said Epperson during the meeting. "It has to be presented to council to approve and accept these totals before we can turn information over to the state."
Epperson said that information turned over included tax forms for Manning, Summerton, Turbeville and the county. Forms for Paxville had yet to be turned in by Monday, he noted, but he was told by the state licensing agency to go ahead and send all relevant information.
"The tax revenue that comes from the sales will go back into that community," said Epperson. "Now, with Turbeville, they have a town ordinance that forbids the sale of alcohol within city limits, so this Sunday referendum won't affect them."
Epperson said that those already possessing a permit to sell alcohol from Monday through Saturday will be able to apply for a permit for Sunday sales, or they can extend their permit to include Sunday.
"Once they apply for the permit, when we are listed on the website as available to do so, then the business will follow the steps and get licensed," Epperson said. "They should be able to get the permit and begin selling right then. I don't think there are any other hoops they need to go through."
Epperson said Clarendon is one of 14 counties that passed a Sunday Sales Referendum on election day. Neighboring counties that did so include Orangeburg, Lee and Williamsburg.
"Had we not passed this, we would have been like the hole in the donut," Epperson noted. "The city of Sumter allows sales on Sunday from restaurants, but not from businesses. I imagine that with all these counties passing such a referendum, that Sumter County would likely try it in the next general election."
Epperson said he's unsure when exactly the Department of Revenue will sign-off on the county's results and list Clarendon on its website as a go for Sunday permits.
"They've assured me that they will get it up as fast as they can," he said. "Once our name pops up on their website, businesses can apply. Obviously, I think it will be in by the end of the year, but I'm thinking it should be sometime in December."