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Group wants end to "Zion Curtain" law walling off bartenders

Posted November 19

— A group of Utah restaurants wants to scrap a law requiring so-called Zion Curtains that wall off customers from bartenders preparing drinks.

The Salt Lake Area Restaurant Association plans to hire a lobbyist to push the change during the legislative session starting in January.

Association President Tamara Gibo told The Salt Lake Tribune (http://bit.ly/2fPurGl) that the 2009 law impacts new businesses more than others that were grandfathered in.

Owners are concerned about costs and safety for employees who go unobserved behind the barriers.

"Business owners want to be able to monitor employees, make sure they are not drinking on the job or using the meters improperly," she said.

Dan Jones & Associates recently polled 823 voters and found 45 percent oppose the walls while 40 percent favor them.

About 43 percent of active Mormons are at least somewhat in favor of the change.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has helped knock down efforts to repeal the Zion Curtain law, which is named in reference to the teetotal guidance from the Mormon church.

"Yes, we are looking at the issue," said Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton.

"We want something that will work for everyone," he said. "We don't want to put forth a piece of legislation that creates more problems."

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