Blue Laws

It’s not unusual for someone to get a tattoo these days, but in Columbus, Georgia, it’s now illegal to give them on Sundays.
Although it is confusing on what led to the law, we suspect that it’s what’s known as a “blue law”.

What are Blue Laws?

A blue law, also known as a Sunday law, is a law designed to restrict or ban some or all Sunday activities to promote the observance of a day of worship or rest. 

Blue laws may restrict shopping or ban the sale of certain items on specific days, most often on Sundays in the western world. 

The origin of the blue laws partially stems from religion, particularly the prohibition of Sabbath desecration in Christian Churches following the first-day Sabbatarian tradition.

Blue laws are enforced in parts of the United States and Canada as well as some European countries, particularly in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Norway, keeping most stores closed on Sundays.

Most blue laws have been repealed in the United States, although there are currently 28 states with blue laws, and the laws vary by each state.

Here are three examples:

  1. Florida: Some counties in Florida prohibit alcohol and sex toy sales on Sundays and during certain hours of the day.
  2. New York: Alcohol can start being served on Sundays at 10 am, thanks to the introduction of the “Brunch Bill” in 2016. Certain New York counties have their own separate blue laws.
  3. Texas: Car dealerships must close on either Saturday or Sunday, and have the option to determine which day. Any retailer with a license can sell beer and wine for “off-premise consumption.” Beer can be sold from 7 am to midnight Monday through Saturday, and from midnight to 1 am and noon until midnight on Sunday. Wine can be sold between 7 am to midnight Monday through Saturday, and from midnight to 2 am and noon until midnight on Sunday. Liquor must be sold at specialized stores. Liquor cannot be sold on Sunday; on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving or Christmas; and between 9 pm and 10 am.

In the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court has held blue laws as constitutional numerous times, citing secular bases such as securing a day of rest for mail carriers, as well as protecting workers and families, in turn contributing to societal stability and guaranteeing the free exercise of religion.

What are your thoughts on Blue Laws? Leave a comment.