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Lawmakers consider early morning alcohol sales

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GREENSBORO -- Hundreds of North Carolina restaurants open their doors bright and early every weekend for Sunday morning brunch. Patrons have their choice of almost everything on the menu, except alcohol.

But state law makers may change that. A new measure would allow sales at bars, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores to begin at 11 a.m. on Sundays instead of noon. Stores could also begin selling beer and wine at 5 a.m. Monday through Saturday, compared to 7 a.m.

"People are going to drink if they want to drink," said customer Toni Slessinger.

Slessinger is visiting North Carolina from Louisiana.

"We have open container laws and everything," said Slessinger. "You can get alcohol anytime from anywhere. I buy alcohol on Sundays in Louisiana. Not that I do it often, but it's nice just to have the option."

She says policymakers should amend North Carolina's alcohol laws but others say the changes are still too restrictive.

"I think it ought to be the same every single day as far as when alcohol sales are allowed," said customer Mary Rayle. "There are a lot of times when I go to the grocery store on Sundays to purchase my groceries and I have to remind myself that I can't get wine or beer until after 12 p.m."

Some feel that changing the laws by a couple of hours won't make a big difference.

"It's an hour," said Michael Tourek. "I'm probably a devil's advocate on that issue that if you are really that wanting of a bloody mary or a mimosa on a Sunday, then you wait that hour to go out to brunch. I also don't know why that hour is that important."

Some of the people we talked to say current laws respect the religious community, while others say that shouldn't be the only consideration for the law.

"If they are not allowing you to buy alcohol because of the religious following in North Carolina, to me that's an issue," said Tourek.

A House conference committee could take up the measure when the General Assembly reconvenes in July.

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