- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

LUCEDALE, Miss. (AP) - Lucedale businesses will soon be able to sell beer and light wine, but the new perk comes with some heavy strings attached.

The Mississippi Press reports (https://bit.ly/1Qetm4L) the Lucedale City Council unanimously approved its light wine and beer ordinance Tuesday night, and the document is quite restrictive.

“We’re trying to keep out the honky-tonks and bars,” Mayor Doug Lee said of the ordinance.

“That’s not what the community wants,” he said. “That’s not what we want for the community.”

The seven-page ordinance addresses businesses that will be permitted to allow on-premises consumption of alcohol, such as restaurants, and those that require off-premises consumption, such as convenience/gas stations and grocery stores.

The ordinance specifically outlaws: outside signs advertising alcohol sales, sales on Sunday before 1 p.m., sales on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas days, off-premises sales between midnight and 5 a.m. and on-premises sales between midnight and 11 a.m.

On New Year’s Eve, on-premises sales will be allowed for one extra hour, to 1 a.m. into New Year’s Day morning.

The earliest that Lucedale could see alcohol sales is March 5, the mayor said.

The main reason for the move, Lee said, is to hold on to some of the tax dollars leaving George County is all four directions.

“We hope it’s a positive move for us because it’s always been about economics,” he said. “If you want it, pick it up. If you don’t, just leave it on the shelf.”

Lee said the city wanted to prevent any businesses from primarily selling alcohol, so no more than 50 percent of a restaurant or store’s profits can come from alcohol sales.

Also, you can’t just drink at a restaurant. All initial alcohol sales in a restaurant must be accompanied by a food order.

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Information from: The Mississippi Press, https://www.gulflive.com

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