This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Most businesses that serve alcohol already are required to have warning signs regarding cancer risk and birth defects. Bars also must have a sign that says, "No Person Under 21 Allowed."
The state has added one more, designed to help diners differentiate between bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.
In restaurants, the sign must read: "This premise is licensed as a restaurant. Not a bar." In bars, the sign must read: "This premise is licensed as a bar. Not a restaurant."
"What's one more sign?" joked Dennis Romankowski, owner of Cognition Winery & Bistro, Park City.
While the signs "reinforce the obvious," he said, they aren't onerous. "But I'm an environmental consultant, so I'm used to signs and regulations."
On Tuesday, the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) Commission approved the basic format and language for the signs, mandated as part of HB442, a massive liquor-reform bill that was passed by the Legislature and signed last month by the governor.
The signs must be in place in all bars and restaurants serving alcohol beginning May 9. They must be 8.5-by-11 inches in size and be posted in a "conspicuous location near the entrance," said Nina McDermott, DABC's director of compliance and licensing enforcement. A basic template is available on the DABC website, but businesses can make the signs more decorative, as long as they contain the proper wording, she said.
Lavanya Mahate, owner of Saffron Valley East India Cafe, didn't know about the new requirement until Tuesday when she saw The Salt Lake Tribune's post about the signs on Facebook.
"The DABC needs to send us some sort of notice about this," she said, noting that, at least for her restaurant, it isn't necessary. "People are smart and this seems kind of patronizing. Everybody knows we are a restaurant."
The new sign is just one of many changes to Utah liquor laws. The most significant part of HB442 is the modification of the liquor dispensing barrier requirements aka "Zion Curtains" in Utah restaurants. Restaurant now have the option of having a 10-foot buffer from the bar where minors are not allowed; or build a half-wall or railing that delineates between the dining and liquor-dispensing areas. Restaurants do not have to comply with the new dispensing-area rules until July 2022.
There is another minor liquor change that will take place May 9, which should make weekend brunch a little brighter. Diners now will be able to order a bloody mary, mimosa or other alcoholic drinks beginning at 10:30 a.m. on weekends, state and federal holidays and at private events, an hour earlier than current law.
Restaurants are happy about the additional liquor service hour as it means a boost for those that serve weekend brunch.
Weekday liquor service for restaurants remains the same, allowed Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. There also are no changes for bars, which can sell alcohol between 10 a.m. and 1 a.m. seven days a week.