Those ‘This is a restaurant, not a bar’ signs are gone and hundreds of other Utah laws that take effect

Posted at 3:36 PM, May 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-08 20:29:21-04

MILLCREEK, Utah -- Aaron Stanley grabbed a razor blade and started scraping away the vinyl lettering sign on the front door that proclaimed "This is a restaurant, not a bar."

Just a few months earlier, the manager of The Wing Coop restaurant spent some good money to have a professional sign installed to comply with Utah's liquor laws. Then, the Utah State Legislature changed its mind and ordered the signs removed.

Tuesday was the day he was legally able to remove the sign when it and hundreds of new laws passed by the 2018 legislature took effect.

"Glad to get rid of it," Stanley told FOX 13.

Aaron Stanley, the manager of The Wing Coop in Millcreek, scrapes off his "This is a Restaurant, Not a Bar" sign. (Photo by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

The signs mandated for bars and restaurants that proclaimed "This premises is licensed as a restaurant, not a bar" and "This premises is licensed as a bar, not a restaurant" were intended to make clear what you were walking into.

But they were described by customers and business owners alike as confusing and not very hospitable. Even lawmakers acknowledged they didn't really resonate with the public, so they allowed them to be removed in laws passed earlier this year.

For bars, they must now display a sign that proclaims: "This is a bar. 21+ only."

"It was so ridiculous last year when we had to put up a sign of what we’re not instead of a sign of what we are," said Dave Morris, the owner of Piper Down, a bar in Salt Lake City. "Now the law seems to reflect a little more sense."

Morris was so happy to get rid of his sign, he set fire to it and laughed as it turned to ashes.

The signs are the most visible of the hundreds of new laws that take effect in Utah. Others include:

  • A "right to try" medical marijuana for terminally ill patients with six months or less to live. The Utah Dept. of Agriculture and Food has been tasked with growing cannabis for them.
  • New restrictions on when fireworks can be set off. Following last year's brushfires and complaints about noise, lawmakers shortened the time from July 1-5 and July 22-25.
  • You don't have to keep your registration card in your vehicle, and if the decal falls off it's not your fault.
  • Following the high-profile arrest of a nurse who refused to let police draw blood from an unconscious patient without a warrant -- all cops must get a warrant.
  • The Utah Transit Authority gets overhauled, and that could include a much-criticized name change to "Transit District Utah." However, lawmakers left that unfunded and any name change could be a long ways away (if it happens at all).
  • It's not a crime to let your child walk home alone from school or play outside alone. A law passed ensures it doesn't fall under child neglect.

Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R-South Jordan, the sponsor of the "free range parenting" bill, has gotten a lot of attention for it. He said other states are now considering similar legislation and he's glad for it.

"I think parents are realizing we need the pendulum to swing in the other direction so that our kids can be free to have the independence that they need to make decisions on their own," he said.

You can read the full list of bills passed by the legislature and when they take effect here.