SALT LAKE CITY – Quarters is a popular bar in downtown Salt Lake City. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, however, it’s been difficult to stay afloat. That’s why over the 4th of July weekend, the bar tweeted a request to Governor Gary Herbert (R) to let them and other businesses sell beer and cocktails to-go.
Bars & Restaurants are struggling & we need more flexibility for our businesses to adapt to our current situation. I ask @GovHerbert to allow the sale of to-go beer & cocktails as other states have done. This is a pro-business move that will help small business & preserve jobs
— Quarters Arcade Bar (@QuartersSLC) July 4, 2020
While it’s unclear how Governor Herbert feels about the idea, Senator Derek Kitchen (D-Salt Lake City) and Representative Joel Briscoe (D-Salt Lake City) have sent a letter encouraging him to allow bars to sell to-go cocktails, as well as allow people to pick up beer at the grocery store.
Senator Kitchen, who owns a restaurant, tells KSL News Radio that Utah has always been known as a business-friendly place.
“We have a lot of businesses that are on the brink of shutting down entirely and won’t be able to reopen [until] after the public health crisis is under control. I think it’s a real opportunity to put our money where our mouths are,” Kitchen said.
Kitchen believes bars are in a tough spot.
“We want to continue to allow these businesses to be operational. Right now, a lot of them are shut down entirely because there’s no way for them to pivot and do take-out and delivery as a lot of restaurants and fast food joints are able to do,” Kitchen said.
He believes Salt Lake City and Park City are being impacted the most by the bars’s inability to sell to-go drinks.
However, some people are worried that allowing bars to do that will lead to increases in drunk driving or people drinking on the sidewalk.
Kitchen disagrees, saying states who have allowed this have not seen much increase in either crime.
Governor Herbert is expected to respond to the letter, possibly as soon as this week.
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