Utah Lifts Key Alcohol Regulation On Restaurants

It's about to get easier to get a drink in Utah.

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Is Utah trying to change its notoriously conservative reputation? This week the Utah legislature is enacting a law that one local news source calls "the biggest overhaul in state alcohol reform in 40 years."

Up until May 12, restaurants in Utah had to set up barriers between customers and bars. This partition became known as the "Zion curtain." The new legislation mostly lifts that requirement, but mixed drinks must be prepared in a separate, out-of-view area, ostensibly so minors cannot see.

Also part of this legislation is the end of another requirement that I blogged about earlier.

This change will probably make life easier for restaurant managers in Utah, as one attests in this AP report:

"It's just kind of pointless to have clear glass in front of us. It really takes away from the personal experience of our customers," said Abbie Daggs, a manager at Stella Grill in suburban Salt Lake City.

However, there are many states and localities that have (or soon might have) more onerous regulations. One blogger points out that Utah isn't so much of an anomaly in terms of alcohol policy as one might think. For example, Oregon is currently considering a 1,900 percent tax hike on beer.

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