LEONARDTOWN, Md. – Although St. Mary’s has been slowly permitting most businesses from serving drinks during the hours of 2 a.m.-6 a.m. on New Year’s Day, the board granted this privilege to three businesses by a 3-1 vote earlier this month.

The businesses include Seabreeze Restaurant at 27130 S. Sandgate Road, OCI Pub/Pizza King at 45413 Lighthouse Road, and California Veterans of Foreign Wars at 23282 Three Notch Road.

As the board members discussed the possibility of allowing drinks on New Year’s, there were some doubts about allowing this because of the unpredictability and unruliness of people during those early morning hours. Before the pandemic, the board members noted that the tradition of allowing drinking during these hours correlated to more Driving Under the Influence (DUI) infringements.

“Because of what’s going in society today. There is a lot more unrest these days,” Board member Richard Watts, who voted no to the motion, said. “What value does it bring to them and the community to continue from 2 to 6?”

However, many board members remembered a time before on New Year’s Eve and the day after. It was a tradition for the St. Mary’s community to come together, drink, and party to celebrate another year. It has become a tradition that will soon go extinct.

Board administrator Tamara Hildebrand said the county allowed these permits for many years for this reason. But, it does not change the fact that this tradition is disappearing. Meanwhile, it’s questionable how other places in Maryland handle this situation.

“Is anyone else in the state doing this?” Board chair David Willenborg asked.

Since this meeting was the last time they could look at this, they had to make a quick decision which led them to grant access to these three companies. These businesses were approved because either the permitted hours are seasonal or they are in a dormant area.

The board will likely add this to January’s meeting agenda for further discussion. They plan to research the topic and potentially bring retailers in to speak on the topic.

Contact our news desk at news@thebaynet.com