Maui County is the first in the state to allow stores to sell alcohol any time of the day.
The change, which was made by the Maui Department of Liquor Control, took effect this month.
Previously, stores were only allowed to sell liquor between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m.
So why was the change made, and will other counties follow?
A county spokesman says stores that sell alcohol have to follow strict rules, and the change would really only affect 24-hour retailers like Longs Drugs or Safeway.
“These establishments are still restricted from selling to anyone that’s visibly intoxicated. They still can’t sell to minors,” said Rod Antone, county director of communications. “They’re still subject to inspection by the department at any time.”
§08-101-25 Hours for the sale, service, and consumption of liquor in licensed premises.
(a) Hours during which licensed premises may be open for the transaction of business shall be as follows:
(3) Hotels and condominium hotels: any hour of the day.
(4) Retailers: any hour of the day.
The Hawaii chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) says the decision puts people on Maui at risk.
“This kind of availability is going to threaten the safety of Maui’s roads and therefore the people on the roads,” argued Carol McNamee with MADD Hawaii. “For MADD, it seems like more danger, more alcohol consumption, and then people getting on the road.”
The change allows retailers to set their own hours for alcohol sales.
“Fishermen that get up very early in the morning to go out, they’re buying ice for their coolers, but they can’t buy beer because it’s not 6 o’clock yet,” Antone said. “Just because the law says you can sell for 24 hours doesn’t mean you have to.”
However, MADD still disagrees with the decision.
“You can drink earlier and stop, or if it’s retail, you buy your alcohol earlier and then have it at home,” McNamee said.
The change only applies to stores and hotels. Bars and restaurants still have to stop selling alcohol at 2 a.m.
The Honolulu Liquor Commission recently amended its rules to establish sales, service, and consumption times for new liquor license classes created by the legislature in the past several years. However, commission administrator Anna Hirai says, there are no current plans to lift, expand, or eliminate hours.
§3-82-38.19. Hours of Business.
A licensee shall be authorized to sell or serve liquor based upon its class of license during the hours specified as follows:
(a) Dispenser, Club, Restaurant, Brewpub, Caterer, Vessel, Transient Vessel, Tour or Cruise Vessel, and Special: From 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. the following day.
(b) Cabaret: From 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. the following day. Liquor may be dispensed during the prescribed hours only when service is confined to customers within the area where live or amplified recorded music for dancing is provided for patrons, including a dance floor, or professional entertainment as permitted by Section 281-31, Hawaii Revised Statutes, or authorized by the Commission, is both visible and audible to customers. In areas that do not comply with the foregoing requirement, liquor may be sold, served or consumed no later than the closing hour prescribed for dispenser premises.
(c) Retail: From 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight.
(d) Manufacturer and Wholesaler: 24 hours a day.
(e) Hotel: From 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. the following day.
(f) Temporary: The hours of the class of the license for which the application has been submitted.
(g) Condominium Hotel: From 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. the following day.