Survey offers a glimpse of what’s behind the ‘Zion Curtain’ bill

Posted at 8:40 PM, Feb 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-22 22:40:13-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A survey being sent to local restaurateurs reveals more details about what may be considered in a bill that would tear down “Zion Curtains” in Utah restaurants.

The survey, sent to members of the Salt Lake Area Restaurant Association (and shared with FOX 13), asks for feedback on “associated trade-offs” and whether they are acceptable. In addition to removing the walls that prevent people from seeing drinks being made, the survey asks about:

  • Requiring Dining Club liquor licensees to choose between being a Social Club or a Full-Service Restaurant License. Under a full-service restaurant license, minors are allowed and diners must state an “intent to dine” and order food before being served alcohol. A social club bans minors and removes “intent to dine” but allows for extended service hours.
  • Signs posted outside restaurants informing guests if they were entering a Social Club or a Full-Service restaurant.
  • Anyone sitting in the bar area would have their IDs scanned.
  • Dram Shop insurance would be increased to $1 million.
  • Minors would be prohibited from being seated or served within 15 feet of a bar area. “If the 15′ requirement is reduced to 10′, does that change your opinion of that requirement?” the survey asked.
  • Restaurants “grandfathered” under previous Zion Curtain laws would no longer be covered and require to comply with the new legislation.
  • Alcohol prices would go up two percent (currently, liquor is sold at cost plus 86% markup).
A Zion Curtain inside a Utah restaurant. (FOX 13 file image)

A Zion Curtain inside a Utah restaurant. (FOX 13 file image)

“We are continuing to have open dialogue to meet an agreement that will help alleviate overconsumption, underage drinking and DUIs while not putting the small business out of business due to unreasonable regulation,” Salt Lake Area Restaurant Association Executive Director Michele Corigliano told FOX 13 when contacted about the survey.

Some of the items in the survey are similar to what House Majority Leader Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, mentioned would be in the bill when FOX 13 first reported on it last month. Rep. Wilson’s co-sponsor, Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, said they continued to meet with stakeholders and was hopeful it would be available soon.

The bill’s concept also has the backing of the chairman of Utah’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.