For the third time, a Utah politician is presenting a bill to lift the Zion Curtains for alcohol in restaurants and bars.
A Zion Curtain is a 7-foot tall barrier that most Utah restaurants are required to erect by law so as to prevent kids from watching the preparation of alcoholic drinks, and Republican State Representative, Kraig Powell, is fervently trying to have the present law repealed for a third time, after failing in 2013 and 2014 owing to stiff resistance from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The leadership of the Mormon Church maintains that they appreciate the contents of the present liquor laws of the state of Utah, which others have deemed “strict and complex.” Should Powell succeed in getting his bill passed, most restaurants will no longer be required to hoist a curtain covering the area where alcoholic beverages are prepared.
With the exemption of establishments with less than 1,000 square feet of space, Powell’s new law requires that new restaurants would have make room for a specific zone for serving alcohol that barred children and, instead of a curtain, they would have to put up signs “stating in large letters that: ‘Notice: This establishment prepares and dispenses alcoholic products in public view.‘”
— Religion NewsService (@RNS) February 18, 2015
According to a UtahPolicy.com Poll published late last year, almost two per every three Utah residents wants to remove the Zion curtain from liquor-licensed restaurants. The state’s restaurant and hospitality industry has lobbied for several years to remove the barriers, arguing they make restaurant operations difficult and confuse tourists. Under current Utah liquor regulations, restaurants that opened after May 2009 may only dispense alcohol in an area separated from the food consumption area “by a solid, translucent, permanent” barrier so that the process is not visible to patrons. Supporters of the barriers say they keep restaurants from looking like bars, as well as prevent the display of alcohol preparation to children.