Bars, Restaurants Reminded of Regulations to Keep Patrons Safe on St. Patrick's Day

Media Contact: LARA Communications 517-373-9280
Email: mediainfo@michigan.gov

March 16, 2017 - As Michiganders celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this Friday, March 17 at area bars, restaurants and other establishments, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission reminded the state’s 17,000 liquor licensees of the laws and guidelines that will help protect customers and add to the success of their business.

“St. Patrick’s Day is a great time of year for Michigan’s citizens and area businesses, however it is the responsibility of our licensees to ensure that they do not over serve patrons and that no one under age 21 consumes alcohol," said MLCC Chairman Andy Deloney.

Tips for Liquor Licensees

Serving Minors/Fake Identification

  • Always check the identification (ID) of a person who appears less than 21 years old. St. Patrick’s Day may increase the temptation for minors to purchase alcohol, enter establishments or use a false ID.
  • Deter the use of false IDs by informing minors that under Michigan law an attempt to purchase liquor by using a false ID is a misdemeanor and is punishable by imprisonment and civil fines.
  • Many counterfeits are caught when staff takes the time to be sure the ID corresponds to the person in front of them.
  • Can the person answer basic questions based on the details of the ID?
  • Establish a policy and procedure for staff to follow when dealing with customers with possible fake IDs.
  • If you think an ID is false, you can call law enforcement for assistance.

Intoxicated Customers/Over Serving

  • Do not sell or serve alcoholic beverages to a person who appears intoxicated and do not allow an intoxicated person to consume alcoholic beverages on the licensed premises.
  • It is the licensee’s responsibility to make certain that no one becomes intoxicated in their business, and that any intoxicated person who enters their establishment is not allowed to purchase or consume alcohol.
  • Because intoxication is a gradual process caused by excessive alcohol consumption, licensees need to identify when customers are approaching intoxication and how to manage their consumption.
  • Many excellent training courses are available to aid licensees and their employees in identifying intoxicated individuals. Contact your association, local authorities, or the MLCC regarding server training programs.

There are serious penalties for selling or furnishing alcoholic beverages to minors and intoxicated individuals, including criminal penalties, fines and possible license revocation. The licensee may also be held liable in civil suits when the sale or furnishing of alcoholic beverages is found to be the proximate cause of damage, injury or death of an innocent party.

Capacity/Overcrowding

  • Capacity is not just a head count. Overcrowding can lead to altercations; obstructed exits can become a fire hazard. Know your establishment’s capacity level to ensure a safe and enjoyable time for your guests.
  • Have management and staff observe if people are moving freely around the establishment.  An on-premises licensee shall post, in a visible place, a sign stating the total capacity of each public room of the licensed establishment, based upon the capacity established by the state or local authorities.
  • If the capacity of your business has not been determined by local authorities, please check with the MLCC for the specific guidelines found within the liquor code.

Other Prohibited Acts

  • Maintain a heightened sense of awareness of potentially illegal activity, including violence, drugs, and gambling.
  • Maintaining control of the premises is the licensee’s responsibility. Keep order and control of the premises by constant observance of customers and situations.
  • Establish a policy and procedure for staff to report suspected illegal activity to management.
  • Licensees do not have enforcement authority, and cannot arrest anyone. However, employees can demand that a customer leave the premises. If the situation appears threatening, call the local police.

The MLCC works to ensure no licensee in Michigan illegally sells alcohol – directly or indirectly – to anyone under the age of 21. That’s why the MLCC has teamed up with the “21 to Buy, Not Supply” campaign to promote awareness of the illegal transfer or sale of alcohol to the underage and its consequences. Many may not know that providing alcohol to minors is a major offense that can lead to $1,000 in fines and up to 90 days in jail. While some may be tempted to let minors drink during the holidays or special events, the punishment – and the danger – is not worth the risk.

More helpful information can be found on the MLCC website or in the Commission’s Guide for Retail Liquor Licensees.

For more information about LARA, please visit www.michigan.gov/lara
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