LINWOOD — City Council entered into a lively debate during its caucus meeting May 9 over the hours alcohol may be served in town. Council President Ralph Paolone began the discussion about amending the city’s regulation.

The permitted hours of sale are set by ordinance and no sales of alcohol are permitted before 11 a.m. on any day. The permitted hours allow alcohol to be sold until 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, with the exception of New Year's Eve, when a plenary retail consumption licensee may sell until 2 a.m.

Paolone said he has been approached to relax those hours and permit the sale of alcohol after 8 a.m. because establishments such as Linwood Country Club and The Exchange would like to have the opportunity to sell beverages such as mimosas during brunch hours.

Councilman Eric Ford wanted to make sure the language in a resolution to change hours of alcohol sales would be specific.

“I want to make sure that it is spelled out that if we move the hours to 8 a.m. it is strictly for on-site consumption and not for the sale of package goods. I don’t want people to be able to go in and buy alcohol in the morning and take it outside the establishment and consume it when our families are out on the town with strollers and on their bikes,” said Ford. “It is not about what you see but about what you allow them to do.”

Mayor Rick DePamphilis and the other council members agreed with Ford.

It was decided a resolution would be drafted amending the hours of sale for on-site consumption of alcohol and introduced at a future meeting. It will require a two-thirds majority for approval.

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