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North Dakota Blue Law / Sunday Opening Law

By | Last Modified: November 13, 2019

North Dakota’s Blue Law was a restrictive retail ordinance that limited shopping behavior on Sundays. The law was active upon North Dakota’s admittance as a state until its retraction in August 2019.

The original ordinance banned most businesses from operating at any time on any given Sunday, having to remain closed from midnight Sunday until midnight Monday. There was no clear detailing of which businesses, if any, were exempt.

1967 witnessed the first big change to the law, partially in response to controversy in the aftermath of the March 1966 Blizzard, where businesses were skirting the law to operate on the Sunday following the winter storm, having been forced closed for several days. The changes better defined which businesses were exempt from the law, which included restaurants, pharmacies, hotels, hospitals, telephone and transportation services, ice manufacturing, tourist attractions, and public performances.

Grocery stores were added to the exemption list in 1985.

In February 1991, the state legislation approved to lessen the restrictions of the Sunday opening law, also known as a blue law, allowing most businesses to operate on Sundays, but no earlier than Noon.


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