Toasting to more lenient laws on New Year's Eve

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Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - David Dycus

MURRAY, Ky.--Package liquor store and bar owners in Murray, Kentucky are in good spirits as they prepare for one of their busiest nights yet.

They're hoping people living in Murray stay in Murray for new year's eve.  In 2001, voters decided to allow alcohol sales in restaurants. In July of 2012, voters expanded that making Murray wet.  
In October of last year, packaged beer sales started, then liquor stores started opening in the beginning of this year.     

Then in October, the city council decided to let bars and taverns stay open until 1:30, instead of midnight.

Those in the business of booze say this is cause to celebrate.

The restaurant is ready, the bar stocked, and lots of beer can be found right here.

"We're expecting a huge crowd past midnight because we're be able to stay open and have a new years toast legally for the first time ever," Big Apple Co-Owner Ron Gladden, said.

The Big Apple is one of a handful of places now allowed to serve alcohol until 1:30 A.M., instead of being forced to close at midnight.

But there's also more competition from new packaged liquor stores like Thoroughbred Spirits.

Store Co-Owner Brian Edwards' is new to the booze business and doesn't know what to expect.

"We've ordered what we think will be a good choice," Edwards said. 

Murray Police Officers are also prepared and Sergeant David Howe thinks this New Years Eve could be one of the safest ones yet, because of the extended hours.

People are staying at the local bars instead of driving to go drink somewhere else.

"We tend to see a lot of cars staying overnight which means either they are getting a designated driver or catching a cab home," Howe said.

Gladden sees that too, and said the more lenient laws aren't only safer but smarter and will bring more money into Murray.

"It's about time the city got smart enough to keep all the tax revenue here," Gladden said.

While Officer Howe wouldn't tell Local 6 how many officers would be on patrol New Year's Eve night, he did say Murray P.D., the Sheriff's Department, and Kentucky State Police will be looking for impaired drivers.

Gladden at the Big Apple didn't talk specifics but said during the busiest nights he's made more than a thousand dollars between midnight and 1:30 in the morning.

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