Quirky Laws That Only Take Effect on SundaysTed Burgess
If you think that laws are always in effect 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, you’re going to be shocked. There are various laws throughout the country that prohibit certain activities on particular days of the week or on holidays in particular. The most common day that this happens – Sunday. Why Sunday? Most of these laws were created when religious values – Puritan values in particular – were in place. These laws were meant to help people stay true to biblical teachings. These laws have come to be known as “blue laws” and are still on the books in many states.
One of the few places where blue laws are still enforced is in Bergen County, New Jersey. Even though it is one of the most popular commercial shopping destinations in the New York metropolitan area, almost all the retail stores are forbidden from opening on Sundays. The city of Paramus has even stricter laws than the county itself. Paramus bans all forms of “worldly employment” on Sundays, including white-collar workers in office buildings.
One law that is commonly found around the country is a ban on alcohol sales before noon on Sundays. The pretense for this was to prevent parishioners from showing up to church under the influence.
Now for the part that is going to leave you scratching your head. Here is a list of quirky laws from around the U.S. that only take effect on Sundays.
- If you want to purchase a mattress in the state of Washington, don’t try to do it on Sunday. Mattress sales are strictly prohibited on that day.
- Heading to Arizona for vacation? Keep your camera in your backpack until after noon on Sunday. Picture taking is illegal before then.
- Have a hankering for a bologna sandwich in Tennessee? Hope you have some in your refrigerator. You can’t buy bologna in Tennessee on Sunday.
- How about a game of dominoes? Not in Alabama on a Sunday. Playing dominoes is illegal that day.
- Taking a trip to St. Cloud, Minnesota could leave you with a craving for hamburgers, but you can’t legally eat one in the city on a Sunday.
- Is South Carolina against having a good time? On Sunday, they seem to be. It’s illegal to sell musical instruments on Sundays!
Some laws are so perplexing that it’s a wonder how they got passed in the first place. For instance:
- In Massachusetts, it is illegal to go to bed without bathing. But, there is a law that specifically prohibits bathing on Sundays. So, I guess you are out of luck if you want to go to bed on Sunday!
- If you want to brush your teeth on Sunday but don’t have the right equipment, you better bring a friend with you to purchase it when in Providence, Rhode Island. A strange law there makes it illegal to sell toothpaste and a toothbrush to the same customer on a Sunday.
- It is illegal to fish for a whale on Sunday in Ohio. No, really.
If you happen to be a woman, some states have laws that target you specifically.
- If you want to parachute on Sunday in Florida, you better be married. Unmarried women who parachute can be arrested and jailed.
- In Montana, if you are married, it’s illegal to go fishing alone on Sunday.
- South Carolina is worse. It’s still legal to beat your wife on a Sunday morning as long as it is done on the steps of the State House.
Are you a car salesman? Check out these laws directed at you.
- In Colorado and New Jersey, car sales are prohibited on Sunday.
- In Maine, the law is a bit more lax. You can sell a car as long as it is equipped with onboard plumbing!
There are hundreds of laws like this on the books. Fortunately, they are rarely (if ever) enforced. However, this just goes to show you how crazy laws can be.
By Ted Burgess