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Comments about ‘In our opinion: Keep sensible restrictions on intoxicating beverages in restaurants’

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Published: Monday, March 11 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

Rep. Fisher's bill, HB 240 Alcohol Service in Restaurants, is a good bill and passed both houses and should be signed by the Governor. It clarifies that someone can order wine while still looking at the menu.

The purpose of the "Zion Curtain" was to make sure there was a difference in the design of a facility that was a restaurant, bar, or tavern since there are age requirements for the bar or tavern and not a restaurant. That should be kept, even if the law is amended.

Russell Howes
Los Angeles, CA

Coming from somebody who does not drink, this editorial is flat-out dishonest and wrong. While alcohol control laws, by and large, are indeed proven to reduce excessive and underage drinking, this specific law is poor policy. It does not have a proven track record for reducing drinking, alcohol abuse, accidents, or anything other than business freedom and the ability of a customer to see that their drink is properly made. Nor does it 'harmonize nicely' with the Surgeon General quote because, as the editorial says, it does not actually 'reduce access' of anyone to get a drink. The only real reason this law exists is the immature and asinine idea offered in the editorial that bar areas are somehow "alluring displays" of alcohol advertising from which minors (and, apparently, adults too) need to be "shielded." It is nothing but an unnecessary inconvenience contrived by lawmakers who feel the need to hide that of which they disapprove, and an inconvenience applied unequally to businesses because the law was not written with equal protection in mind. Kudos to the House for fixing this bad law, and shame on Sen. Valentine and this newspaper for promoting poor legislation under false pretenses.

Mike in Cedar City
Cedar City, Utah

Oh good grief, are citizens so easily manipulated? Out of sight out of mind? I don't drink but I have lived in many states where liquor was openly displayed and the sight never tempted me to imbibe. People are free agents and if they want to drink they will do so, and if not they will not. This "no display law" is like sweeping your dust under the rug and reinforces the notion that Utah is well, charitably, different..

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: "Legislators should not be embarrassed by innovative state policies . . . ."

It's not a matter of embarrassment. It's just who they take their marching orders from.

The vast majority of Utah's electorate supports the "Zion curtain." The "hospitality" industry opposes it.

What to do, then, is an easy decision for too many Utah politicians -- blow off their constituents and follow the orders of their financiers.

Maudine
SLC, UT

You claim keeping alcohol out of sight is "proven" as a way to reduce drinking. Please provide the name of the study that proves it.

one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

Wait you can have enough guns to kill 100 people in a minute, but the nanny state controls wine with dinner?

cns
St George, Utah

The Bible says that if your eye offends you you must pluck it out. If people that believe drinking alcohol is evil see alcohol -- what then ? Do we want that many blind people ??

Maudine
SLC, UT

@ procuradorfiscal: On what data do you base your claim that the majority of Utahns support "Zion curtains"?

KJB1
Eugene, OR

Anybody who supports this law no longer gets to whine about the "nanny state." Deal?

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

One of the fastest ways to get kids interested in something is to hide it.

Larry Chandler
CEDAR CITY, UT

Not sure where you get your information that "proves" that the Zion Curtain reduces underage drinking, alcohol abuse and alcohol related accidents.

Utah has a low percentage of underage drinkers because most people don't drink, not because of silly laws that make it difficult.

The number of people for whom alcohol consumption leads to addiction is quite low. Only those who abuse alcohol are the people who should be punished.

You are very typical in your assumption that an adult who merely enjoys a drink with dinner is a reason that kids become alcoholics. Kids who drink alcohol do not do so because they see their parents enjoying a drink. They will get a friend or an older brother to buy beer for them.

If you don't want your kids to see someone drinking alcohol, don't bring them to a restaurant that serves it. And nothing prevents someone from saying "Wow, the is the most delicious drink I've ever had."

The mockingly flippant but appropriately named "Zion Curtain" is a completely ridiculous concept that hurts the hospitality industry while doing nothing to promote temperance among teenagers.

Moderate
Salt Lake City, UT

The flaw in the theory is the way it is implemented in Utah. Existing restaurants and bars didn't have to move liquor behind a curtain, only new businesses. I'm surprised we needed a new law to correct this. A new retailer could have easily taken the State Of Utah to court for discrimination and won.

Steve C. Warren
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

The flaw with the current "Zion Curtain" law is that it takes a shotgun approach rather than a rifle approach. Let's focus on minors only.

It would be better to place a receptacle full of orange flags (like Salt Like City uses at crosswalks) inside restaurants for youths to pick up as they enter. When they pass the beverage display area, the youths would raise the flags beside their face, shielding them from the view of ads and of alcohol being dispensed. At their dining table, when an adult begins to consume an alcoholic beverage, the youths would again hold up the flag, shielding their view. Servers could warn "no peeking" as needed.

As the minors leave, they would again use the flags to shield their view, redepositing them in the original receptacle.

In the restaurants owned by more patriotic Utahns, American flags rather than orange flags could be used.

Problem solved.

Truthseeker
SLO, CA

Editorials like this make me wonder if anyone on the editorial staff has lived outside UT (a mission doesn't count) for an extended period of time.

UT's lower rate of alcohol consumption is because kids are raised in homes, churches, neighborhoods where the majority of adults don't drink. It's cultural. Going to a restaurant and seeing alcohol is going to have no effect. When we lived on the east coast a new family moved into our ward. A short time later we learned this family wouldn't dine at a certain chain restaurant because the restaurant had a bar and the name was ".....Bar and Grill." Five years later their oldest daughter was working at the restaurant as a hostess. They remained staunch LDS members.

Ridiculous laws like these remind me of the Pharisees. Get a grip folks.
DN you need more diversity on your staff.

southmtnman
Provo, UT

As a parent of teens, I am all in favor of "reasonable" legislation to discourage young people from drinking alcohol.

But this editorial and the "Zion curtain" laws are NOT reasonable in any way, shape or form. "Out of sight; out of mind" as a rationale for continuing jejune laws is as laughable as it is unfortunate coming from the "Editorial Staff" of a local new outlet that has enough of a credibility problem already!

And prohibiting the purchase of alcohol in supermarkets on Sundays? What is the rationale for that? Equally inane, no doubt. I can't wait to read DN's editorial on that one!

This editorial does prove one thing: something must change -- either the silly alcohol laws in Utah, or the Editorial Board for DN... or both!

My goodness! This is enough to drive a person to drink...

JustAnotherBrat
west valley city, UT

Amazing how anyone can believe this law has reduced under age drinking and compared it to grocery store marketing. A child cannot see alcohol and decide they want to order a drink unlike people buying junk food at the grocery store.

This law is silly and harmful to our economy. Kudos to the legislature for considering this. It is something worthy of their efforts unlike many bills this year.

lds4gaymarriage
Salt Lake City, UT

I wonder if those legislators supporting the "Zion Curtain" ever said - "Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy state senator, and I will prevent alcoholism in mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor of your vote."

President Benson said -

"There is a host of do- gooders... ready to solve all human problems with legislation, willing to impose their version of the millennium on you and me, unwilling to rely on the judgment of the individual."

"The greatest right humans possess is the right of free choice, free will, free agency. This above all is what today's true conservative strives to preserve for his fellowmen and for himself. Ironically, it is this very objective that has helped to give credence to the myths. Because the conservative fervently believes in human freedom, he is slow to tell everybody else how to run their lives. It goes against the conservative grain to be a political, social, or economic busybody, and especially to beat the drums for government action on virtually every existing problem."

Think about it.

Hemlock
Salt Lake City, UT

lds4gaymarriage
The government, both conservative and liberal, imposes many laws "...to promote the general welfare...." some of which limit personal freedoms. Both parties point to laws with which they disagree as being examples of nanny statism or abridging personal agency. And, if you want to quote Ezra Taft Benson speaking ex cathedra, do it in context.

lds4gaymarriage
Salt Lake City, UT

The quotes of President Benson speak of general principles of freedom. They are not limitted to one topic or another. We need to liken them, and the priciples of freedom they espouse, unto ourselves. Laws should discourage and/or punish objective harm. This is not the case with the Zion Curtain. You should also look into the contaxtual meaning of the "general welfare" clause. It is not a free pass for government to do as it wishes in the name of it promoting the general welfare of society.

I agree that both the left and the right promote laws that infringe upon individual freedom and equality. We need to eliminate such laws, no matter who supports them.

andyjaggy
American Fork, UT

I've never had a drink and never had a desire to drink. However I have no doubt that if I was in a restaurant and saw some alcohol all my self control would go out the window and I would get plastered. Thank goodness they hide it behind a wall to keep me from temptation, otherwise I might have to explain to my children what alcohol is, what it looks like, why people drink, and why we choose not to drink. That would be way too much parenting for me.

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