So what’s this Pocahontas County Referendum about the Brunch Bill All About?

I am here with CARA Rose of the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and we are going to talk about the “Brunch Bill”.

“The Brunch bill is Senate Bill 298, passed in Legislature this past Spring” said Cara. “What it does is allow county by county to permit the change of time that a restaurant can serve alcohol on Sundays. Currently on Sundays, alcoholic beverages can be served beginning at 1 p.m. This bill would permit those sales to begin at 10:00 a.m. This matters because Pocahontas County benefits greatly from the traveler. And visitors on Sunday morning like to have brunch, and along with brunch, it is typical to have a light alcoholic beverage.”

What impact would this brunch bill have on the tourism industry here?

“Number one, our visitors ask for it” Cara explains. “We know that. Restaurant wait staff will tell you that on Sunday mornings, when they are having brunch, they do ask for a light beverage. With the passage of this bill, restaurants will collect a higher ticket from their guests. They’ll not only buy a light beverage with their brunch, but they will buy food. That means that wait staff will have additional hours, and also additional tips. So it will be an economic impact. So, this is about economic growth for P{Pocahontas County. Pocahontas County is heavily reliant on traveler expenditures. This is something that guests want, and in order for Pocahontas County to enhance the experience and add amenities to a visitor, this is important. It is on the ballot as a referendum. It will be called the ‘Brunch Bill’. Currently in West Virginia, Monday through Saturday, restaurants can begin serving alcoholic beverages beginning at 7 a.m.  Sundays they can begin serving alcoholic beverages starting at 1:00 p.m.  So all this bill does is change it from 1:00 p.m. on Sundays until 10:00 a.m. on Sundays. This bill is only related to on-premise beverages served in restaurants. It does not permit anyone to go into a local store and purchase wine or beer any earlier then one p.m. This is only affecting restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages.”

What parts of the County do you think would be affected the most?

“Well, there are a few restaurants scattered throughout the County that do currently serve alcoholic beverages” Cara answered. “The larger impact area will be the resort area at Snowshoe. This is something that the vast majority of tourism industry people were asking for in the State of West Virginia. There are 16 counties that have this on the ballot for November, so we’re not the only county. Many cities in West Virginia have already passed this bill through what they call a ‘Home Rule’ which allows municipalities to instate this Sunday Brunch time change on their own. Charleston; Shepherdstown; Morgantown; Lewisburg; these are some of the the towns and cities in West Virginia that have already permitted this to happen. So, this is a good thing for Pocahontas County, it’s a good thing for the visitor, it’s a good thing for the business people, and it is also good for employees who work at these restaurants.”

Pocahontas County has quite a few very conservative, fundamentalist religious people who oppose the use of alcohol and would see this as an encroachment on their Services.

“I certainly understand that and appreciate that” Cara says. “This bill is really providing an amenity for travelers, primarily. So I don’t see it having a large impact on the way our local residents engage in the use of alcohol at all. Well, I do hope that the voters of Pocahontas County recognize how important the traveler expenditure is to our County. The Pocahontas County Chamber of Commerce, the Pocahontas County CVB and every restaurant in Pocahontas County that serves alcohol supports this.”

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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