The Prince George's county liquor board voted Monday to allow package stores to sell alcholic beverages on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve this year, but bowed to political pressure yesterday and reversed that decision.
Maryland law prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages by package stores on Sunday, although bars are open. The three-man county liquor control board had voted to give stores an exemption in years when Christmas and New Year's Eves fall on Sunday, as they do this year.
"We just thought we could accommodate the pulic just like they are doing in many of our neighboring counties," Board member Gerard F. Holcomb said last nigh. "We thought it was the right thing to do. But when we were approached by the state senator, we decided it wasn't worth the hassle that would be involved."
The state senator, John J. Garrity, told board attorney Salvator Daniello he would seek an injunction against the ruling in court and would ask State's Attorney Arthur A. Marshall Jr. to prosecute liquor licensees who sold liquor on those dates if the board failed to reverse its decision.
"I feet strongly liquor should not be sold on the Sabbath," Garrity said. "It would set a bad precedent and it would also violate Maryland law."
After Garrity, State Sen. Arthur Dorman and Marshall had called Daniello, the lawyer informed board members Holcomb, chairman Robert L. Miller and Lee Roy Lee and told them of Garrity's intentions.
"We just decided that if that was going to be the senator's postition, we didn't want to gamble on having licensees prosecuted," Holcomb said. "We're going to petition the state legislature for relief in years when the holiday falls like this.
Miller and holcomb had voted in favor of the exception on Monday and Lee had voted against it. Yesterdayhs vote was Unanimous.