Local businesses to change hours after blue law ends, Sunday
Some businesses in Dickinson will change their Sunday hours as the strictest blue law in the U.S. comes to an end this week.
Many of the area's retail chain stores will be changing their hours. Walmart will now be open 24/7. Menards will begin opening at 8 a.m. on Sundays. Runnings will be opening at 10 a.m.
The Prairie Hills Mall, however, does not plan to change its Sunday hours. Neither does the West River Community Center. Both will continue to open at noon on Sundays.
Local businesses seem to be split on the issue. Some of them are already closed all day Sunday, such as Faith Expressions Christian Store, by choice.
Owner Stormie Kasian said of the change, "I personally think that stores should be closed until noon, reason being is I think it allows family time to go to church."
She said she believes the repeal would interfere with North Dakotan's church attendance.
"Then their schedules would have to be mandatory working on Sunday, and you'd have to take your turn to work. I'm going to choose to stay closed," she said.
Downtown business Aloha Tan currently opens at noon on Sundays. Part owner Ashley Baseflug said they have discussed opening earlier on Sunday, but they haven't yet decided.
"As a business owner, we want to make our own decisions. I think for the sake of our employees and just our hours have been the same for so long that I don't think we will, but we may in the future. It's nice to have the choice to. As of right now, we'll keep our hours the same," she said.
The blue law had been in affect since North Dakota became a state and was first changed in 1967 following a blizzard the previous year. Prior to the 1967 change, all businesses had to close from midnight Sunday to midnight Monday. After the blizzard, when people were unable to go to the store on Sunday, despite having been house-bound for days, the law was amended to exempt some necessary businesses such as pharmacies, hospitals, restaurants, hotels and transportation.
In 1985, it was changed again to allow grocery stores to open.
In 1991, restrictions were loosened further by allowing most businesses to open on Sunday, but barring selling from midnight to noon.
This Sunday will mark the first Sunday in North Dakota's history that shopping before noon in retail stores such as Menards will be legal.