'Zion curtain' bill passes House, advances to Senate

Published: Tuesday, March 5 2013 5:20 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would allow restaurants to tear down the so-called "Zion curtain" intended to shield customers from the preparation of alcoholic drinks passed the House on Tuesday without debate.

Rep. Ryan Wilcox, R-Odgen, said he came up with the idea for HB228 after seeing the required barrier at a restaurant and learning the 2009 law mandating customers not see drinks being poured or mixed only applied to restaurants licensed after that date.

Wilcox said an estimated 80 percent to 90 percent of restaurants have not had to erect a 7-foot tall barrier while those that have are typically smaller establishments. If lawmakers are treating some restaurants differently, Wilcox told his fellow representatives, "we're not doing our job."

He also noted the barrier has been the subject of a number of national news stories, the kind of publicity that he said hurts tourism.

"We spend a lot of time and money on tourism advertising in Utah to draw people here," Wilcox said.

The bill passed the House 63-11 and now goes to the Senate.

Lisa Riley Roche

Twitter: dnewspolitics

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