Blue Laws by State

Blue laws, also known as Sunday laws, are regulations that restrict or prohibit certain activities on Sundays or other designated days. These laws have been enforced in the United States since the colonial era and were originally based on religious beliefs. While some blue laws have been repealed or modified, many still exist in different states.
Blue Laws By State

History of Blue Laws

The first blue laws were introduced in the New England colonies in the 17th century, and they were based on the Puritan belief that Sundays should be a day of rest and worship. These laws prohibited activities such as working, buying or selling goods, and even traveling. Violators were subject to fines or imprisonment.

Over time, blue laws were adopted by other colonies and became more widespread. In the 19th century, many states began to repeal or modify their blue laws due to changing attitudes towards religious observance and the growth of secularism. However, some states still have blue laws on the books today.

Types of Blue Laws

Alcohol Sales

Many states have restrictions on the sale of alcohol on Sundays. In some states, such as Indiana and Connecticut, alcohol can only be sold in liquor stores on Sundays. In others, such as Texas and Missouri, beer and wine can be sold in grocery stores and convenience stores but not liquor.

Business Operations

Some states prohibit certain businesses from operating on Sundays. For example, in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, car dealerships are required to close on Sundays. In Bergen County, New Jersey, all businesses, including grocery stores and gas stations, must be closed on Sundays.

Recreational Activities

Many states have restrictions on recreational activities on Sundays. In some states, such as Pennsylvania and Ohio, hunting is prohibited on Sundays. In others, such as Colorado and Maine, skiing is prohibited on Sundays.

Pros and Cons of Blue Laws


  • Encourages people to rest and spend time with family
  • Reduces noise and traffic on Sundays
  • Respects religious observance


  • Restricts personal freedom and choice
  • Harms businesses that rely on Sunday sales
  • May not be relevant to modern society


Q: Is it legal to buy alcohol on Sundays?

A: It depends on the state. Some states prohibit the sale of alcohol on Sundays, while others allow it with certain restrictions.

Q: Are blue laws still enforced?

A: Yes, some states still have blue laws on the books and enforce them.

Q: What is the purpose of blue laws?

A: Blue laws were originally intended to encourage religious observance and a day of rest.

Q: Why do some people oppose blue laws?

A: Some people believe that blue laws restrict personal freedom and harm businesses that rely on Sunday sales.


Blue laws have a long history in the United States and have been used to regulate a variety of activities on Sundays and other designated days. While some people believe that these laws are important for religious observance and promoting rest, others argue that they restrict personal freedom and are no longer relevant to modern society.