GOVERNMENT

Utah bars send letter urging Gov. Herbert to end 10 p.m. alcohol ban

Dec 3, 2020, 3:32 PM
alcohol ban covid one year...
(Gov. Gary Herbert speaking at his monthly news conference with PBS at the Utah State Capitol. Credit, Laura Seitz, Deseret News, October 22, 2020)
(Gov. Gary Herbert speaking at his monthly news conference with PBS at the Utah State Capitol. Credit, Laura Seitz, Deseret News, October 22, 2020)

SALT LAKE CITY — Twenty-five bars in Utah are pleading Gov. Gary Herbert to end his 10 p.m. alcohol ban, citing concerns they are on the “verge of economic ruin.” The owners co-wrote a letter and sent it to the governor Wednesday, asking Herbert to lift the restriction. 

The ban on selling alcohol past 10 p.m. is part of the newly-enforced mandates that became effective Nov. 9. Under the mandate, all bars and restaurants must stop serving alcohol after 10 p.m. — noting it may help to curb the spread of the coronavirus. 

“We do not believe, however, that the 10 p.m. alcohol service cut off is reasonably tailored to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in our businesses,” the letter reads. “Instead, the restriction is devastating the bar industry in Utah, has caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost business revenues over the past month, is harming our employees, and is effectively closing many Utah businesses.”

The mandate was set to expire Nov. 23 but Gov. Herbert extended the restrictions, along with the statewide mask mandate. 

The bar owners acknowledged the need to get control over the spike in COVID-19 cases. However, they said bars and restaurants already implement public safety guidelines that work toward this goal. 

“The 10p .m. alcohol service cutoff also does not appear to be related to any legitimate government interest in stopping the transmission of Covid-19,” the owners said in their letter. “Bars and restaurants are actively working to stop the transmission of the virus and have instituted all of the required restrictions including employee face mask requirements, 6 feet of physical distance from other patrons in a separate party, limiting capacity to maintain social distancing, requiring face masks when patrons are entering, exiting and/or not actively eating or drinking, and constantly sanitizing surfaces, among other restrictions.”

Instead, the owners argued the 10 p.m. cutoff only harms businesses — interfering with their busiest hours. Bars usually hit their peak between 9 p.m. and 1 a.m., according to the bar owners. 

In fact, some bars don’t even open until 9 p.m. because of the potential foot traffic during late hours. Those that are open during the daytime are seeing a decline in customers as well because of the lack of tourists and city employees working from home. 

Additionally, bar owners argue the 10 p.m. ban only encourages inter-household gatherings — which are discouraged amid the pandemic. 

“Bar staff and owners are also repeatedly witnessing people making plans to leave bars at 10 p.m., where strict Covid-19 and alcohol service regulations are enforced, and head to private house parties and gatherings where the State has repeatedly said the transmission of Covid-19 is the highest,” they said. “Allowing the bars to serve alcohol for three more hours per night prevents these unregulated gatherings and allows bars to control alcohol service with their trained professional staff.”

Today’s Top Stories

Government

Justice Stephen Breyer and President Joe Biden....
Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter

Breyer makes it official: He’s leaving the Supreme Court on Thursday at noon

In a letter to President Joe Biden, Breyer said it had been his "great honor" to participate as a judge in the "effort to maintain our Constitution and the Rule of Law."
1 day ago
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul stands with Lieutenant governor Antonio Delgado during their primary ele...
STEVE PEOPLES AP National Politics Writer

Takeaways from first primaries since Roe v. Wade overturned

The abortion debate consumed the nation this week, but there was no race where it mattered more than Colorado's Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, where businessman Joe O'Dea became one of the only abortion-rights-supporting Republicans in the nation to win a statewide primary this year.
1 day ago
Gov. Spencer Cox announced Utah Court of Appeals Judge Jill M. Pohlman is his nominee to serve on t...
Mark Jones

Gov. Cox announces Utah Supreme Court nominee

Utah Court of Appeals Judge Jill M. Pohlman is Gov. Spencer Cox's Utah Supreme Court nominee as announced Tuesday.
2 days ago
A crowd gathers in front of the Utah State Capitol on Friday, June 24, 2022, to protest the U.S. Su...
Becky Bruce

Different abortion law now in effect in Utah

A different abortion law is now in effect in Utah, and it bans abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy. However, there are several exceptions to this law.
2 days ago
A ballot drop box is pictured. Those wanting to vote in the utah primary election can still vote in...
Amie Schaeffer

Utah primary election: Acceptable ID to bring for in-person voting

Utah's Primary Election is today. Voters need to be sure they have the right identification to cast their ballot.
2 days ago
Photo: Utah Department of Transportation...
Mark Jones

UDOT seeks public feedback on future of Bangerter Highway

UDOT is hosting scoping open houses on Tuesday and Wednesday at Granger High School to get feedback on the future of Bangerter Highway between 4100 South and California Avenue.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: The Most Common Mistakes People Make When Filing Their Taxes

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Follow @ikeyospe...

Tax Tuesday: How will last year’s child tax credits affect you?

Fortunately, for most average earners, they will not end up owing overpayments received for the Child Tax Credit in 2021.
Utah bars send letter urging Gov. Herbert to end 10 p.m. alcohol ban