JEFFERSON CITY - It just got a lot easier to serve alcohol over the forthcoming eclipse weekend in Jefferson City.
Jefferson City and Cole County governments took away their respective Sunday liquor license fees for this coming Sunday only.
The city council approved a bill amendment Thursday evening that will allow liquor vendors to eschew the $50 fee bars would have had to pay to serve alcohol on the day before the eclipse.
Jefferson City lawmakers anticipate a large influx of celestial watchers to descend upon the city in the weekend preceding the big event. They said they wanted to make it easier for liquor vendors to stay open while the tourists are in town.
Mayor Carrie Tergin said she wants everyone to be open for the big sales day.
"We're anticipating a record number of visitors here in Jefferson City, and there are some establishments that typically aren't open on Sundays, so we want to make it as easy as possible for them to decide to do that," Tergin said.
Thursday's bill amendment came on the heels of Cole County's efforts earlier in the week.
The county commission met Tuesday to dissolve its $200 annual fee for bars that want to open up shop this Sunday.
Interested Jefferson City bars will still need a $200 Sunday liquor license from the state, something Tergin said no one will be able to get around.
She did say she hopes the city level fee waiver for this coming Sunday sets a precedent for a permanent termination of the fee.
One Jefferson City bar owner said he is pleased the city is looking out for its small business owners.
"We have to pay a lot for our liquor licenses, so this is going help a lot of the newer bars that might not be able to swing the expense of being open on a Sunday. They're not getting punished by having to sit out on what will surely be a big sales day," said Mark Schnieders, owner of Hook's Double Play Bar.