ST. GEORGE – And so the fall of the so-called “Zion Curtain” is at hand with the stroke of a pen by Utah’s governor.
Gov. Gary Herbert signed 2017’s House Bill 442, the 144-page Alcohol Amendments legislation Tuesday and issued the following statement:
“H.B. 442 is a major updating of our already strong and effective regulations on alcohol,” Herbert said. “It provides increased funding for proven education and enforcement efforts that will prevent underage drinking and impaired driving. This law also makes our restaurant licensing more equitable while giving establishments several options and reasonable time to comply.”
Though the new legislation will allow an establishment serving alcohol to remove the 7-foot tall “Zion Curtain,” rules that prevent youngsters from seeing alcoholic drinks being prepared nonetheless remains in place. However, businesses will be given options in how they want to enforce this aspect of the legislation.
- Businesses can keep the “Zion Curtain” which was implemented for restaurants built after 2009;
- Create a 10-foot perimeter around the bar where children may not be seated (at one point referred to as a “Zion Moat”);
- Erect a 42-inch structure built 5 feet from the bar.
Restaurants operating before 2009 that had been grandfathered in will have to comply with one of these options by July 2022.
Also under the reform bill, alcohol sales will be marked up an additional 2 percent. This brings the total markup on alcohol in Utah to 88 percent.
Money from the price increase will go to alcohol education and prevention programs taught in public school health classes and drivers’ ed.
Businesses will have to choose between having a “restaurant” or “bar” license.
A reduction in distance that an alcohol-serving restaurant may be located in relation to a public space such as a park, school or church will go from 600 feet to 300 feet. The distance from a bar, liquor store or packaging outlet will remain at 600 feet.
On the weekend alcohol can be served beginning at 10:30 a.m. rather than the current time of 11:30 a.m.
The bill takes effect July 1.
2017’s House Bill 442 is one of 535 bills passed during the recent session that concluded earlier this month.
St. George News Assistant Editor Paul Dail contributed to this story.
- Read the bill: 2017 HB 442-Substitute 3 – Alcohol Amendments
- Contact legislators:
- Bill sponsor: Brad Wilson
- Southern Utah Sens. Ralph Okerlund, Don Ipson, Evan Vickers and David Hinkins | Listing of all senators.
- Southern Utah Reps. Walt Brooks, Merrill Nelson, Brad Last, John Westwood, Mike Noel, V. Lowry Snow and Jon Stanard | Listing of all members of the House of Representatives
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