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Police Stop Salons from Offering Alcohol

Police Stop Salons from Offering Alcohol

Posted - Mar. 23, 2004 at 4:21 p.m.



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Shelley Osterloh ReportingSome hair salons and day spas have been offering clients a glass of wine with a haircut or a massage; now state police are putting a cork in the practice. A few salons have already been busted and face stiff fines, but others should take notice.

No one knows for sure how common this is, but many salons --- especially high end ones --- offer refreshments to clients, including wine or beer. The State Bureau of Investigation says it’s received a growing number of complaints.

Undercover officers shot surveillance video of woman who was served wine in a day spa. Officials wouldn't name the businesses they busted, but we found one them.

The Divorka Barva Salon is proud of its upscale sophisticated atmosphere. Right alongside the designer jewelry is a refreshment bar with soda, flavored coffee, and now empty wine racks. Salon owner Olga Coates was shocked when police told her she was breaking the law.

Olga Coates, Divoka Barva Salon: "I should have had a uniformed police officer come in here and tell me I couldn't serve alcohol. Not somebody undercover, there's nothing to hide here, we just do hair."

Some stylists say they didn't know it was illegal to serve wine if they are not charging for it.

Olga Coates, Divoka Barva Salon: "If I would have known that, I never would have put my clients or my business in jeopardy. So I never would have done that."

State law officers want to spread the word that any business that serves alcohol without a liquor license is breaking the law.

Rich Townsend, Dir. State Bureau of Investigation: "Where you might go in one salon and pay 35 dollars for a pedicure you can go into another salon and pay $95 and oh by the way, we will give you a glass of wine as part of that expense. So in a very real sense they are actually selling the alcohol."

Officers say business owners who serve alcohol are breaking law if they serve minors and are liable if a client leaves inebriated and drives under the influence.

The owner of Divoka Barva says they will comply and thinks clients will understand.

Olga Coates, Divoka Barva Salon: "They are not coming here to drink. They are coming here to get their hair done and that’s what I care about."

Investigators say this isn't a huge problem, but they want to let salon and spa owners know they will be enforcing the law. The penalty is Class B Misdemeanor with a $1,200 fine.

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