Members of the Citizens Council on Alcoholic Beverage Control have proposed changes to the regulations that outline how the state's liquor reform law will be implemented, but the regulations are expected to go into effect as currently written on Friday.
The new law, which went into effect April 25, allows minibottles and wine to be brought directly to a customer's table. It also requires restaurants to keep an eye on how much customers drink.Council members wanted to add language that emphasizes a restaurant's responsibility to control the number of drinks a customer consumes. They also talked about the possibility of requiring customers who drink in waiting areas to eat at the same time.
The regulations were tentatively approved last month by the Utah Commission on Alcoholic Beverage Control, with the provision that they would go into effect June 3 unless additional comments were received.
The suggestions adopted by the citizens council at a special meeting called Wednesday don't count as additional comments, said Dennis Kellen, operations manager of the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Kellen, who attended the council meeting, said afterward that the suggestions were no different than comments made by council members last month at a public hearing on the regulations.
Those comments, as well as a statement by one council member that drinking should not be allowed in restaurant waiting areas, were considered by the commission before a vote on the regulations was taken.
Gayle Judd, the council member who testified at the hearing that allowing drinking in waiting areas is the same as having bars in restaurants, did not attend Wednesday's council meeting.
Her desire to ban drinking in waiting areas was mentioned only briefly during the council meeting. Council chairman Stanley Altman and board member Robert Leake both pointed out changes they would like to see in the regulations.
The council agreed to ask that the language in the regulations require restaurants to maintain control over what customers drink as well as merely keeping track of how many drinks they buy.
And at Altman's suggestion, council members agreed to say that they have concerns about another section of the regulations that states drinks can only be sold in connection with an order for food.
The regulation has been interpreted to mean that customers can drink as long as they eat before leaving the restaurant. Altman said he believes customers should have to eat while they are drinking, even if they just nibble on snack foods.
Altman suggested that rather than ask that the regulations be changed now, the council should discuss the issue further and possibly propose changes later.