ANSWERING THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: Mommy, Where Do Cocktails Come From? “Utah law requires many restaurants to mix drinks behind a partition to shield the act from curious minors—but a new bill would allow it back in the open; the ‘Zion Curtain’ becomes the ‘Zion Moat’”
The partition rule, mandated in 2009 for new restaurants, was aimed at preventing underage diners from becoming inspired to imbibe. Last week, the Utah legislature passed a bill that offers another option, what locals call the “Zion Moat.”
If the governor signs the bill into law as expected, restaurants by next year will be able to replace Zion Curtains with buffer zones between family tables and bars. It would require a 10-foot zone around a bar that is off-limits to under-21 patrons if the bar is in full view—or a 5-foot zone if the view is partially hidden.
“I guess if they want to put in a real moat with water that’s their business,” said Republican state Sen. Jerry Stevenson, a sponsor of the bill, who expects restaurants will be creative with their buffer zones. “If you want to put in some potted plants that’s OK. Or a row of tables” for adults.
Utah’s ways might seem quaint and curious to residents of the other 49 states, but regional differences — and allowing America’s many subcultures to flourish — is what federalism is really about.