City Votes to Allow Restaurants to Serve Alcohol

City Votes to Allow Restaurants to Serve Alcohol

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PROVIDENCE, Utah (AP) -- City leaders have lifted the ban on beer and wine with meals at restaurants.

"It's Pollyanna and shortsighted for us to block people exercising those rights," said Councilman Vic Saunders before the council's 4-1 vote Tuesday. "People want this. Even members of the church want it. So why hold back?"

But the revised rule isn't without the restrictions common across Utah.

Restaurants would be allowed to sell beer and wine as long as 70 percent of the establishment's business comes from food. It also limits the bar area to 30 percent of the restaurant's total space.

The city also established three types of liquor licenses modeled on Utah's current liquor laws: Class A would allow retailers to sell beer for off-premise consumption; Class B-limited restaurant licenses would allow restaurants to sell beer and wine for consumption on the premises only; and Class C is a full service restaurant license which would allow beer and wine and some mixed drinks to be served for on-premise consumption.

The rule also limits the hours of such sales from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. for beer and noon to midnight for mixed drinks and allows alcohol to be purchased and sold on Sundays.

Lifting the ban reverses an earlier council decision back in August 2003, when the previous City Council refused to change the law prohibiting alcohol to accommodate one of the city's restaurants, the Iron Gate Grill.

Saunders said the change allows the city to maintain strict controls on alcohol while accommodating people's desire to have spirits during meals.

Residents overwhelmingly supported the change.

"I don't see what the problem is with enjoying a beer with a meal," said Nick Bouse. "It's common in a lot of parts of the country. It doesn't mean I'm going to abuse alcohol."

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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