Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Utah liquor bill: Zion Curtain will stay in restaurants
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A drive to tear down the so-called Zion Wall — a barrier that restaurants are required to have to prevent patrons from seeing alcoholic drinks prepared or poured — hit a brick wall Thursday.

House members made a push to remove the 7-foot-2 barrier, but were blocked by senators, who argued that letting the public see drinks being prepared would lead to more alcohol sales and more alcohol consumption.

"It changes it into a bar-like atmosphere," argued Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, who has been the leader in the Senate on alcohol issues.

But Rep. Ryan Wilcox, R-Ogden, countered that restaurants that pre-dated the 2009 enactment of the wall are exempt from having to build the wall. They aren't bars, he argued, and the Legislature has created a competitive disadvantage.

"We set up an uneven playing field for these businesses. … [And] we have no evidence that they do what they were intended to do," Wilcox said of the wall. "The average Utahn doesn't walk into a Chili's and see a bar."

The Senate refused to budge, meaning the wall will stay in place and the issue will likely return to the Legislature next year.

There were some changes, including creation of a master license that will allow restaurant chains to get a single license, presumably freeing up the scarce licenses. The sides also agreed to allow tastings of liquor, wine or beer.

Mandatory minimum fines for alcohol violations were stripped out of the final bill.

Article Tools

 Print Friendly
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.