March 27, 2017 – It’s known as the Zion Curtain by the citizens of Utah who drink in public places like bars and restaurants. A rule dating back to 2009 prohibiting bars and restaurants from mixing or pouring drinks in view of their patrons has been rescinded. It has been replaced with the Zion Moat!
Previously, servers had to dash behind a walled off area to pour a simple whiskey. Apparently seeing such an act would have a deleterious effect on the population, especially minors, and encourage them to drink. The opaque partition rule was part of a trade off when lawmakers dropped the requirement for bars and restaurants to charge patrons an additional fee to imbibe an alcoholic drink.
Now it’s a ”moat” or 10 foot buffer zone around a bar reserved for anyone over 21. If the bar isn’t in full view, a five foot buffer zone will suffice. The Republican sponsor of the bill is quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying, “If you want to put in some potted plants that’s OK. Or a row of tables for adults.” We liked the Journal’s cute headline on the story, “Mommy, where do cocktails come from?”
But the legislature isn’t finished with giving bars and restaurants a hard time. The Governor has just signed a bill lowering the blood alcohol limit to .05, the most stringent in the nation. Everywhere else it .08 BAC. Strong opposition by the Utah Restaurant Association and others involved in the tourism industry did not sway the Governor’s decision. The law goes into effect at the end of 2018.
Progress isn’t exactly buzzing in the Beehive State when it comes to alcohol.