Utah restaurants, bars must hang sign affirming intentions

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A new law requires bar and restaurant owners in Utah to hang a sign by their door disclosing the business’ serving intentions.

Starting on May 9 it will be illegal in the state for a restaurant not to have a sign saying, “This premise is licensed as a restaurant. Not a bar.”

Bars will have to hang a sign saying, “This premise is licensed as a bar. Not a restaurant.”

The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control approved the signs Tuesday as part of a massive liquor-reform bill passed and signed in March. The law also allows restaurant patrons to order alcoholic drinks an hour earlier, at 10:30 a.m., on weekends, state and federal holidays and at private events.

Salt Lake City restaurant owner Lavanya Mahate said she found out about the law from a Facebook post.

“The DABC needs to send us some sort of notice about this,” she said. “People are smart and this seems kind of patronizing. Everybody knows we are a restaurant.”

The signs must be placed in a “conspicuous location” near the business’ entrance, said Nina McDermott, Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control director of compliance and licensing enforcement. It must be 8.5-by-11 inches in size, but businesses can decorate as long as the proper wording is used, she said.

The new sign is just one of many changes to Utah liquor laws, which include future liquor-dispensing barrier requirements in Utah restaurants. Restaurant have the option of having a 10-foot buffer from the bar where minors are not allowed; or a half-wall or railing that separates dining and liquor-dispensing areas. Restaurants need to comply with the new dispensing-area rules starting in July 2022.

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