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Bars, Restaurants, and Patrons Reminded of COVID-19 Regulations, Never Drink and Drive St. Patrick's Day Weekend

Media Contact: LARA Communications (517-335-LARA (5272))

March 12, 2021 – With St. Patrick’s Day revelry kicking off this weekend, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) reminds its 19,000 liquor licensees to serve patrons responsibly and adhere to the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) Emergency Order. As St. Patrick’s Day is one of the deadliest holidays due to drunk driving, Michiganders are urged to never drink and drive.

“Many people will look forward to having fun with friends and family at bars and restaurants, and it is imperative to do so responsibly,” said Orlene Hawks, the director of the Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, in which the MLCC is housed. “Even one drink can impair your judgment; buzzed driving is drunk driving with serious consequences that make the risk just not worth it.”

St. Patrick’s Day at the bar will obviously feel different this year due to COVID-19. The MDHHS Gatherings and Face Mask Order effective March 5, 2021, allows indoor dining, subject to capacity, curfew, face masks, social distancing, and other restrictions and remains in effect through April 19, 2021.

Any licensed establishment that is in violation of the MDHHS emergency order risks suspension or revocation of its license. All licensees must comply not only with the MDHHS orders, but also with local health department orders and local ordinances regarding reduced occupancy rates and social distancing protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Licensees have increased responsibilities this year due to COVID-19, in addition to ensuring that they do not overserve patrons and serve only to those of legal drinking age,” said MLCC Chair Pat Gagliardi. “As bar and restaurant owners are rebounding from the year-long pandemic, their customers can best support them by adhering to emergency orders and celebrating responsibly. Drive sober, never drink and drive, and always have a plan for a safe ride home.”

In addition to adhering to the MDHHS Emergency Order, liquor licensees are also reminded to:

  • Check ID to verify a patron’s age is 21 years or older before selling or serving alcohol to them.
  • Serve responsibly to ensure that no one becomes intoxicated in your business.
  • Not allow intoxicated individuals who enter your establishment to purchase or consume alcohol.

Consumer tips for a safe St. Patrick’s Day:

  • Designate a sober driver; or have an alternate transportation plan before the party begins.
  • Never let a friend drive drunk. Arrange a safe way for them to get home
  • Don’t ride in a vehicle with an intoxicated driver.
  • Always buckle up. It’s your best defense against drunk drivers.
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, call 911 to reach law enforcement.

Consider these sobering statistics*:

  • 73 people were killed in drunk driving crashes over St. Patrick’s Day in 2018, one life claimed every 30 minutes
  • 62% of fatal St. Patrick’s Day holiday car crashes involved a drunk driver
  • 33% of pedestrians killed in 2018 St. Patrick’s Day holiday crashes had a blood-alcohol level of .08+
  • 174% more beer is sold, and 153% more spirits are sold on St. Patrick’s Day than usual
  • 2 is the average number of drinks consumed per person on St. Patrick’s Day, and
  • 32% of men admit to binge drinking on St. Patrick’s Day.

It is the mission of MLCC to make alcoholic beverages available for consumption while protecting the consumer and the general public through regulation of those involved in the importation, sale, consumption, distribution, and delivery of these alcohol beverage products.

*Sources: WalletHub (data is based on information from the National Retail Federation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the U.S. Census Bureau, and news reports.)                                                

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