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In Texas, blue laws prohibit the sale of liquor on Sundays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day, with additional restrictions on beer and wine sales. Beer and wine can be purchased from 7:00 AM to midnight Monday through Friday, from 7:00 AM to 1:00 AM on Saturday, and from 10:00 AM to midnight on Sunday, while car dealerships must choose to close either on Saturday or Sunday but cannot operate on both days of the weekend.

In this article, we will explore the origin of these limitations and cover when and where you can buy alcohol on a Sunday.

History of Texas Blue Laws

William G. Harper’s “A Short History of the Texas Blue Laws” documents blue laws dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries within some American colonies. Originally designed to protect Sunday as a day of worship, these laws encouraged church attendance by limiting secular and commercial activities.

Some historians suggest that these laws were transcribed onto blue paper, hence the name. Others believe that “blue” was a derogatory term used at the time to describe the puritanical nature of these regulations.

The original Texas blue law, enacted in 1961, restricted the sale of 42 specific items on consecutive weekend days (Saturday and Sunday).

  • Clothing and wearing apparel
  • Clothing accessories (belts, hats, gloves, etc.)
  • Home appliances (large and small)
  • Cameras and camera accessories
  • Cookware and kitchen utensils
  • Silverware and flatware
  • Hand tools and power tools
  • Hardware and building materials
  • Furniture and home furnishings
  • Jewelry and watches
  • Clocks
  • Luggage and travel accessories
  • Musical instruments and accessories
  • Radios and radio accessories
  • Televisions and television accessories
  • Refrigerators and freezers
  • Washing machines
  • Dryers
  • Air conditioners and fans
  • Mattresses and bedding
  • Mirrors
  • Dishes and glassware
  • Pots and pans
  • Cutlery and silverware
  • Lamps and lighting fixtures
  • Linens and towels
  • Curtains and drapes
  • Rugs and carpets
  • Sporting goods
  • Toys and games
  • Books and magazines
  • Records and tapes
  • Paints and painting supplies
  • Wallpaper and wallpaper supplies
  • Electrical appliances
  • Plumbing supplies
  • Automotive parts
  • Tires and automotive accessories
  • Bicycles and bicycle accessories
  • Office supplies
  • School supplies
  • Pet supplies

Current Texas Blue Laws: Alcohol and Cars

While many original blue laws have been repealed, restrictions on alcohol and automobile sales remain, reflecting long-standing traditions.The Texas statute that contains the alcohol-related blue laws is found in the Alcoholic Beverage Code, Chapter 105. This chapter outlines the hours of sale and consumption for various types of alcoholic beverages, including liquor, mixed beverages, malt beverages, and wine. It specifies restrictions such as prohibiting the sale of liquor on Sundays, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day, and sets specific hours for the sale and consumption of other alcoholic beverages.

When Can You Buy Alcohol in Texas?

Under the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, the sale of alcohol on Sundays is still subject to specific restrictions.

When can I buy beer, wine, and liquor.

Can You Buy Beer, Wine or Liquor on Sunday?

  • Beer and Wine: Sales are permitted in grocery and convenience stores from 10 a.m. to midnight on Sundays. This extension from the previous noon start time allows for greater flexibility.
  • Liquor: Sales of liquor are prohibited on Sundays in Texas. Liquor stores must remain closed, reflecting stringent regulations aimed at limiting alcohol consumption.

Texas Alcohol Hours

The hours during which you can purchase alcohol in Texas vary by type and day of the week:

  • Monday to Friday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. for liquor in stores.
  • Saturday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. for liquor, extended hours for beer and wine in some locations.
  • Sunday: 10 a.m. to midnight for beer and wine, no liquor sales in stores, although bars and restaurants can serve alcoholic drinks after noon.

What Time Does Texas Stop Selling Alcohol?

Liquor sales must cease by 9 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays. For beer and wine, sales extend to midnight on Saturdays and Sundays.

car dealerships are closed on Sundays

Car Sales Regulations

According to Section 728.002 of the Texas Transportation Code, car dealerships in Texas are prohibited from operating on both Saturday and Sunday. Dealers must choose one day of the weekend to open, typically opting for Saturday. This ensures a mandatory day of rest, complying with the state’s legislative intent to reduce commercial activity on Sundays.

Development and Controversy of Blue Laws

The persistence of blue laws in Texas has been a topic of debate. Proponents argue that these laws help maintain community standards and values, providing predictable days off for workers in certain industries. Opponents believe they are outdated and restrict modern commerce. The most significant changes occurred in 1985 when Texas repealed many of the blue laws, though restrictions on liquor and auto sales persist due to their specific inclusion in state codes.

Conclusion

Texas blue laws are a fascinating example of how historical practices can persist into the modern era, reflecting the state’s unique cultural and religious heritage. While they continue to regulate activities like alcohol and car sales, the discussion around their relevance and application remains active among lawmakers, businesses, and consumers alike.

Varghese Summersett is a premier criminal defense firm based in Fort Worth, Texas. Our attorneys focus exclusively on criminal law and represent clients charged with crimes at both the state and federal level. We handle everything from DWI to capital murder to white collar crime. Collectively, our attorneys bring together more than 100 years of criminal law experience and have tried more than 550 cases before Texas juries. All of our senior attorneys served as former state or federal prosecutors and four are Board Certified in Criminal law, the highest designation an attorney can reach. We are the firm people turn to when the stakes are high and they are facing the biggest problem in their lives. - Contact Varghese at  
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