Time to review Sunday closing laws

The Minnesota Legislature is taking a look at the laws that ban liquor sales on Sunday in the state. These are laws that harken back to a time when the Sabbath was observed throughout society. Sunday was a day for going to church and relaxing at home with the family.

Over the years, however, even church-going families have taken to shopping as a form of Sunday relaxation and recreation. Shopping malls ring up a lot of customers on Sunday these days, but liquor still carries enough of a hint of sin to keep this ban on Sunday sales on the books.

But these days it is not the churches so much who are against selling liquor on Sunday, it is the liquor store operators. For many of the smaller operators, Sunday liquor sales would mean all the overhead cost of opening up for sales that they don’t anticipate to be high enough to cover the expense.

If the state lifts the ban on Sunday sales, of course, it doesn’t mean a liquor store would have to open on Sunday. But it does mean that some liquor stores would be open, and if your competitor is open, it’s hard to stay closed.

We think it may be time for the state to lift the ban on businesses doing business on Sunday. It is a nanny-state kind of law. Do we really need or want government telling us when businesses can be open and when we can shop at them?

These are the kinds of questions that should be answered by marketplace forces. If there is demand, then the suppliers will meet it. Those who frown on doing business on Sunday are free to avoid it, but government should not be imposing that restriction on everyone.

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