The 2015 Utah's Freest Cities Ranking

Thou shalt close on Sunday

Sell an apple on Saturday and you're fine; sell one on Sunday and you lose your business license. Some cities in Utah still impose archaic "blue laws," requiring some or all businesses to close on Sunday or at certain hours. This sort of meddling and micromanagement from city government has no place in a free market system.

For example, in Highland all businesses must be closed on Sundays; the same is true for certain zones in Sandy. Layton, Lehi, Lindon, South Ogden, and Springville restrict pawn shop operations on Sunday. A handful of cities prohibit dance halls from holding dances or playing music for dancing on Sunday.

It's interesting to note that some cities even prohibit “commercial entertainment” or “places of amusement” on Sunday which in some cities even includes “motion picture houses.” Interestingly, the Larry H. Miller company—the same company that lobbied heavily for a statewide ban on car sales on Sunday—operates a movie theater on Sunday in St. George—the very city that prohibits them on Sundays (with the exception of permission of the city council which most theaters have presumably obtained).

Many cities also impose arbitrary limits on the permitted hours of operation for businesses requiring pool halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, swimming pools and other types of businesses to close at certain hours. The rules for auctions in Sandy get so specific that you are not permitted to sell oriental rugs at auction after 6 p.m. In Cedar Hills exercising cats outdoors after 8 p.m. is against the law.

The peaceful and consensual exchange of goods and services in a free society should not be arbitrarily prohibited because it occurs at a different time or on a different day of the week. Many businesses find that operating on Sunday is not profitable and voluntarily choose to remain closed. However, it should not be against the law to do otherwise. Even most religious people recognize that persuasion and voluntary action are better than government coercion.