Young people, Ballard said, don't go into a fine dining establishment to buy a $40 bottle of wine to get drunk on. They try to get alcohol from convenience stores and other outlets, he said.
Valentine said there's a way to resolve inequities in the law: The state could require all restaurants, including those open before 2009, to have separate preparation areas for alcohol and food, which would take extensive remodeling in some cases.
"I think that's harsh," he said. "I don't think the restaurant industry wants to see that."
Restaurants sell only 3 percent of the state's alcohol, said Melva Sine, executive director of the Utah Restaurant Association.
"The problem is not the restaurant industry in terms of selling alcohol," Sine said, adding that some restaurants voluntarily keep liquor out of sight. "We are culturally responsible in the state of Utah."
Contributing: Lisa Riley Roche
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