Utah liquor bill aims to take down ‘Zion curtains’

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers are considering repealing a law that requires restaurants to mix alcoholic drinks behind a partition.

The barriers, commonly known as “Zion curtains,” went up in 2010 as part of a compromise when lawmakers lifted a mandate for bars to operate as members-only social clubs.

A House committee is expected to discuss the bill Wednesday.

Restaurant owners and tourism officials say the law is unnecessary, confusing and hinders tourism. But some lawmakers say that removing the mandate could encourage underage drinking and influence customers to drink too much.

Efforts to get rid of the so-called Zion curtains, their nickname a nod to Utah’s religious heritage, face a significant challenge. Many Utah legislators and residents belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which teaches its members to abstain from alcohol.

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