Edgartown extends seasonal liquor licenses

Rosewater Wine & Spirits is one of the many seasonal businesses looking to extend their liquor license. — Brian Dowd

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Edgartown selectmen approved extending seasonal liquor licenses to Dec. 15.

Rosewater Wine & Spirits owner Julia Tarka brought the original request to selectmen. All of Rosewater’s year-round staff have been transferred over to the Wine & Spirits store to support the staff and keep the store open during the pandemic. Normally seasonal liquor licenses end on Nov. 30. 

At a meeting Monday, selectmen heard from several seasonal business owners that supported the extension. 

Harborview owner Bernard Chiu said he was in full support of the seasonal liquor license extension. “I just feel it’s very important that when people come to the Island or live on the Island, they have more choices,” Chiu said. “Having more restaurants open beyond the current deadline certainly will attract more people to stay on the Island and spend more money to support the local community.”

Joseph Monteiro of 19 Raw said that even though the extension wouldn’t affect his business because it will be closed for remodeling, he still supports it. “I think it’s a great thing for the community, a great thing for everyone else,” Monteiro said. “I think it’s a great thing for the town and everyone else to allow us to stay open a little bit longer.”

The extension did see pushback from liquor store owners, who felt it would negatively affect their business.

Jamison Loveday, who manages Your Market, was one of the voices of opposition to the extension.

“We missed out on all the weddings this year, we’re going to be missing out on all the holiday parties,” he said. “Going into the deep winter months, it just wouldn’t be beneficial to the year-round businesses’ retail; I can’t speak for the restaurants.”

Gary Look of Al’s Package agreed with Loveday. “The year-round stores have taken just as much of a hit, and we want to keep our employees working too,” Look said, adding he didn’t have an issue with restaurants. “I just think the retail, off-premise liquor sales should stay where they are.”

Selectman Michael Donaroma said that liquor stores may have lost some revenue over the summer, but felt an extension would help everyone. “These are different times for sure,” Donaroma said. “The liquor stores didn’t have to close, they’ve been open … I don’t think a few weeks is going to hurt anybody. I think it will help.”

In other business, selectmen appointed Steve Ewing as the town’s representative on the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank commission. Ewing is filling the vacancy of Richard Knight, who passed away in June.