‘Zion Curtain’ set to fall with governor’s signature

In this 2011 photo, a frosted glass curtain hides a portion of the bar at Brio Tuscan Grille at Fashion Place Mall in Murray City, Utah. A lawmaker introduced a proposal during Utah’s general session Monday aiming to allow restaurants to get rid of barriers known as "Zion Curtains" that block people from seeing alcoholic drinks being made. | Photo by Paul Fraughton/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – And so the fall of the so-called “Zion Curtain” is at hand with the stroke of a pen by Utah’s governor.

Gov. Gary Herbert signed 2017’s House Bill 442, the 144-page Alcohol Amendments legislation Tuesday and issued the following statement:

H.B. 442 is a major updating of our already strong and effective regulations on alcohol,” Herbert said. “It provides increased funding for proven education and enforcement efforts that will prevent underage drinking and impaired driving. This law also makes our restaurant licensing more equitable while giving establishments several options and reasonable time to comply.”

Though the new legislation will allow an establishment serving alcohol to remove the 7-foot tall “Zion Curtain,” rules that prevent youngsters from seeing alcoholic drinks being prepared nonetheless remains in place. However, businesses will be given options in how they want to enforce this aspect of the legislation.

  • Businesses can keep the “Zion Curtain” which was implemented for restaurants built after 2009;
  • Create a 10-foot perimeter around the bar where children may not be seated (at one point referred to as a “Zion Moat”);
  • Erect a 42-inch structure built 5 feet from the bar.

Restaurants operating before 2009 that had been grandfathered in will have to comply with one of these options by July 2022.

Also under the reform bill, alcohol sales will be marked up an additional 2 percent. This brings the total markup on alcohol in Utah to 88 percent.

Money from the price increase will go to alcohol education and prevention programs taught in public school health classes and drivers’ ed.

Businesses will have to choose between having a “restaurant” or “bar” license.

A reduction in distance that an alcohol-serving restaurant may be located in relation to a public space such as a park, school or church will go from 600 feet to 300 feet. The distance from a bar, liquor store or packaging outlet will remain at 600 feet.

On the weekend alcohol can be served beginning at 10:30 a.m. rather than the current time of 11:30 a.m.

The bill takes effect July 1.

2017’s House Bill 442 is one of 535 bills passed during the recent session that concluded earlier this month.

St. George News Assistant Editor Paul Dail contributed to this story.


Read more: See all St. George News reports on Utah Legislature 2017 issues

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.


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  • Henry March 28, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    ” Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall ! “

  • DRT March 29, 2017 at 7:08 am

    What a complete and total crock!
    “H.B. 442 is a major updating of our already strong and effective regulations on alcohol,” Herbert said. “
    Strong and effective should be replaced with draconian and repressive. Isn’t it about time we bring an end to this constant hypocrisy that is forced on all of us by the state?
    They have gone miles out of the way to implement a tax increase by sliding it through as liquor law reform.
    Isn’t it time that we replaced Herbie and the rest of these clowns that are calling themselves legislators?

  • Real Life March 29, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Tear down a wall and put up another one so that insecure Mo Mo’s can protect their many children from the evil beer that lurks behind the bar. Then jack the prices up and lower the b.a.c. to the lowest level in the western hemisphere. And you wonder why the rest of the country thinks you are backwards, strange and goofy.

  • Who March 29, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Hard to argue with that, DRT.

  • utahdiablo March 29, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    When the word get out about the b.a.c limits ( and it will get out ) tourists will stop drinking liquor and the state revenue will drop, then Herbert will resind this stupid order…..but hey, lets raise the speed limit to 90 huh? That’ll help commerce….golly, why are so many people dying on Utah highways nowadays Goober? Gee, not sure Gomer…but heck, speed up, we got to make Salt lake by noon

  • xbcmc059 March 29, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Real Life.. Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  • deseret dave March 29, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    sad times..when the utah legislature meets (unfortunatly every year) 90% of their output is not well thought out or unconstitutional in nature..the govenor is hard pressed to sort it all out….the lowering of the blood alcohol level to .05% has good intentions for sure. Gargling with listerine will give get your alc level about .05%….We go to Mesquite to buy our sacramental wine and have saved enough tto open 2 more churches Enjoy
    deseret dave

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