Blue laws are laws designed to restrict certain activities on Sundays (or other specific days) for religious reasons to observe a day of worship or rest. Blue laws also may ban shopping or ban the sale of specific items on Sundays. Blue laws commonly regard alcohol.
While blue laws may seem unconstitutional because they are based on religion, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled them constitutional by citing that blue laws secure a day of rest for certain workers and guarantee the free exercise of religion.
States with Blue Laws
There are currently 28 states with blue laws, and the laws vary by each state, and different counties occasionally have their own blue laws.
Out of Arkansas's 76 counties, 39 are "dry" counties where the sale of alcohol is prohibited. Private facilities are given some exceptions and must have hard-to-obtain licenses.
The sale of alcoholic beverages is entirely prohibited on Christmas Day. In most counties, alcohol and liquor sales are not allowed on Sundays and statewide Christmas Day.
Up until 2003, Delaware banned the sale of liquor on Sundays. Today, alcoholic liquor can only be sold in specific establishments between 9 am to 1 am.
Some Florida counties prohibit alcohol and sex toy sales on Sundays and during certain hours of the day.
Horse racing is prohibited on Sundays unless authorized by the local municipality. Car dealerships are closed on Sundays.
Sunday alcohol sales are permitted between noon and 8 pm.
It is illegal for almost all businesses to be open on Thanksgiving. Hunting is illegal on Sundays.
Professional sports cannot play games before 1 pm on Sundays. Except in Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George's counties, a new or used car dealer may not sell, barter, deliver, give away, show, or offer for sale a motor vehicle or certificate of title for a motor vehicle on Sunday.
Certain businesses have controlled hours of operation, and the blue laws require that some businesses (retail establishments) pay their employees extra compensation on Sundays and some holidays.
It is prohibited to buy, sell, or participate in the trade of motor vehicles on Sunday.
Liquor stores that choose to be open on Sundays are only allowed to operate between 11 am and 6 pm. Car dealerships are not allowed to be open or do business on Sundays anywhere in the state.
The sale of alcohol on Sundays is prohibited statewide.
Nevada residents cannot purchase vehicles or water their grass on Sundays.
Bergen County practices one of the only remaining Sunday closing laws. Shopping for clothing, electronics, and furniture is not allowed on Sundays in Bergen County, which has four major malls. In Bergen County, Paramus has stricter blue laws, which ban all types of work on Sundays except in grocery stores, pharmacies, hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality workplaces.
On-premise alcohol sale is allowed from 7 am to 2 am and off-premise until midnight. No alcohol sales on or off-premise on Sundays or Christmas Day.
Alcohol can start being served on Sundays at 10 am, thanks to the introduction of the "Brunch Bill" in 2016. Certain New York counties have their own separate blue laws.
Alcohol sales are prohibited between 2 am, and 7 am Monday through Saturday and between 2 am and either 10 am or 12 pm on Sundays, depending on the county. Gun hunting is prohibited between 9:30 am and 12:30 pm on Sundays.
Car dealerships are closed on Sunday. Selling packaged liquor is prohibited on Sundays. Alcohol sales are prohibited on New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.
Hunting is prohibited on Sundays, except for foxes, crows, or coyotes. Car dealerships are closed on Sunday.
Alcohol cannot be consumed on-premise between 3 am, and 10 am on Sundays. If the local government had decided against extended hours for alcohol sales, the prohibited hours are 3 am to noon.
Car dealerships must close on either Saturday or Sunday and have the option to determine which day. Any retailer with a license can sell beer and wine for "off-premises consumption." Beer can be sold from 7 am to midnight Monday through Saturday and from midnight to 1 am and noon until midnight on Sunday. Wine can be sold between 7 am to midnight Monday through Saturday and from midnight to 2 am and noon until midnight on Sunday. Liquor must be sold at specialized stores. Liquor cannot be sold on Sunday, on New Year's Day, Thanksgiving or Christmas, and between 9 pm and 10 am.
Bars, clubs, and taverns are allowed to sell alcohol from 10 am to 1 am. Restaurants that serve alcohol are allowed between 11:30 am to 1 am, and the alcohol must be ordered with food. Additionally, alcohol sales have to remain under 30% of the restaurant's total sales.