Tisbury voters will head to the polls Tuesday, May 9. As Vineyard Haven business owners, we ask you to vote yes on Question One — to allow restaurants to serve spirits to their dining customers.

Just a year ago, town meeting voters approved placing this question on the ballot by more than a two to one margin. We believe the backing came not only from restaurant customers, but from residents who may have taken a wait-and-see approach after beer and wine licenses were granted in 2010.

The last seven years have proven that allowing restaurants to serve beer and wine has been a seamless, non-threatening event. There has been no fallout or problems either in terms of public safety or general nuisance. Frankly, putting the onus on the restaurant operators to ensure patrons drink responsibly has proven to be a benefit. Vineyard Haven remains the Island’s welcoming main port with a mix of retail shops and eateries.

We believe allowing restaurants to serve spirits contributes to a business-friendly environment that could attract new restaurants and shops to Vineyard Haven. We’re not suggesting this is a cure-all, but we believe that having full service establishments, like there are in the other down-Island towns, could benefit the larger Vineyard Haven business community as well as the restaurants.

It’s important to note that all the restrictive regulations and requirements will remain in place under this new bylaw. People cannot simply come in and drink at restaurants. Food must be served with any alcoholic beverage. A standard pour of beer or wine has the same alcohol content as a drink made with spirits. This is about offering another choice rather than the introduction of something brand new.

We ask for your support. Please vote yes on Question One and allow Vineyard Haven restaurants to become full service restaurants that bring or keep business right here in Tisbury.

Mary and Jackson Kenworth
Vineyard Haven