Beer Burkas: Utah Legislators Require Restaurants To Install “Zion Curtains” To Prevent Customers From Seeing Beers Being Opened or Poured

If you are going to Utah, you may be seeing the return of the restaurant equivalent of a beer burka. Legislators in the heavily Mormon state have reinstated the required use of Zion curtains to separate diners from bartenders. In beer-only restaurants, bartenders will now have to be shielded from public eye.

The new requirements are contained in two bills that were so badly crafted that they have left confusion as to their application.

Since 2009, there has already been a requirement of Zion Curtains for bartenders preparing mixed drinks. In 2009, Zion Curtains were taken down in 2009, but businesses were required to have separate rooms to hide the preparation of mixed drinks. The result is quite confusing.

For many, the Zion Curtains are clearly the result of sectarian, religious values being imposed on the population — in this case to harass those who do not comply with the alcohol-free principles of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There is no rational basis for this limitation as a matter of public health. These reports indicate that some businesses are considering leaving the state or at least not expanding in the state, which appears the objective of some who support the arbitrary limitations. This law is ripe for a constitutional challenge.

I love Utah, which is one of the most beautiful places on Earth and always enjoy going to Salt Lake City. I have met many liberal or libertarian Mormons who would not support such legislation, but the state remains divided on such issues. Indeed, the most notable thing in the articles on these curtains is that everyone appears to agree that the law is confusing and no one is quite sure who first demanded the changes.

Source: Salt Lake City

34 thoughts on “Beer Burkas: Utah Legislators Require Restaurants To Install “Zion Curtains” To Prevent Customers From Seeing Beers Being Opened or Poured

  1. Amusingly the Arabic word ‘hijab’, now used to describe female Islamic covering, originally meant ‘curtain’, ‘separation’.

  2. Back before smoking was banned in restaurants, we were on vacation in Asheville, NC. We stopped to eat at a chain steakhouse, and asked for the non-smoking section. It was a little nook with no tables and the booths needed repair, unlike the main part of the restaurant. The nook also had walls up to the top of the booth seats, but from there up it was an open framework of stained wood posts. The smoke drifted freely though the non-smoking section. In other words, if you were not a smoker in North Carolina back then, you were treated as a second class citizen and sent a message to get with the program. Back of the bus all over again, but that time instead of skin color, it was non-smoking status.

    In the words of Yogi Berra, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

    BTW, we got up and walked out, never to return to one of that franchise’s restaurants since.

  3. In an ironic twist, many homes have bars in them. I former colleague found that out when he was buying a home out side SLC. Most homes had “wet bars”. It seems most people did their drinking “behind closed doors”. I was told that many of the bars were well stocked! You could say that instead on Zion Curtains most Utahians (?) wanted to imbibe behind “Iron” Curtains :)

  4. Puts me in mind of when a Queen was riding through the village naked and the King said any man who cast an eye on the Queen will go blind so naturally there is alwaqys the guy or girl for that matter who will cover one eye to watch.

  5. This is a fine example of a bad law. It fosters excessive entanglement, serves no rational purpose, drives away business, alienates citizens and is prime facie childishness. All in the name of foisting religious dogma upon people using the force of law. As an aside to whoever voted for this non-utilitarian religious legislation, please, grow up. Do you know what I do when a business does something I find offensive (usually poor customer service or treating their employees badly)? I don’t spend my money there. No one is forcing you to visit these establishments. If you don’t want to see beer being opened or drinks being mixed despite the fact that serving and consuming alcohol is legal in Utah? Don’t go where it is served. I’m sure you have plenty of dining options in establishments that don’t serve alcohol. This country has a secular government. Theocracy should not be tolerated no matter what religious tradition it arises from. Even in Utah.

  6. Blouise,

    As he was charting a course through the states and territory’s… to get to Utah as quick as he could…

  7. Another reason to keep religion out of government, though ridiculous at best. The people who proposed this law aren’t pious they are morons and that is not a misspelling.

  8. another reason to not spend money or visit the state- as if there weren’t enough already. When the US breaks up into smaller countries Utah will have trouble finding contiguous neighbors to form a union.

  9. Whatever. If you want to see the states as 50 experiments, well this is it in action.

    Consider the experiment here an exercise to determine how stupid the electorate is, and how long it takes them to shitcan their legislators.

  10. Thank you, Gene H., for your splendid assessment, and I agree. This law is purely religious in nature and forces others to abide by Mormon beliefs.

    Of course, it’s so UNLIKE the Christian tenets that encrust many U.S. and state laws, from marriage to abortion. While we decry those regulations of certain religions, we condone anything and everything that affects Christians and their convictions.

  11. You think that’s funny, let’s talk about how crooked the Mormon Church is. They have been holding out on Liquor licenses for the last two years. Now we find out that they have allowed 5 businesses to operate on their new church commercial property with a liquor license.

    Remember, Mormons however stupid and irrational can be bought for a price.

  12. According to the Wiki, the Zion Curtains are usually made out of glass. I’d guess the idea being to keep the bartenders from interacting with the customers.

    The good and moral citizens of Utah shouldn’t be consorting with THAT sort.

  13. Yup, I agree that this is way bizarre, and I even live in Utah. FWIW, there are a lot of Utahans who think this law is embarrassing and unnecessary whether we drink or not.

    We have a number of legislators (notably the Senate President, Michael Waddoups) who don’t like drinking and would exercise whatever muscle they can flex to make sure we don’t have it – or as little as possible. If that doesn’t work, they make it as difficult as possible to get a drink.

    Sadly this is just one of many crazy laws passed by the Republican dominated Utah Legislature every year. Most of us don’t know whether to laugh or cry during the legislative session. Afterwords we cry, mostly, since they end up becoming law.

  14. 2008 Drunk Driving Statistics:

    Utah comes in lowest at 20%. Idaho, also having a strong Mormon influence, but without the same restrictive laws, has twice the percentage of alcohol involved traffic fatalities.

    The site won’t link. Search for “2008 Drunk Driving Statistics”

  15. For cryin out loud…..time we all spanked our inner prudes and princes and woke up from this collective friggin nightmare…….

  16. Hurray for Big Government Conservatives! Don’t like that I’m drinking a beer? Put a curtain between me and the bartender! Don’t like the medical treatment I’m getting? Put a script and a baloney waiting period between me and my Doctor!

    Good thing the Republican party is so dedicated to getting government out of our lives!

  17. tomdarch1, August 31, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    psychopathic control freaks!

  18. RickL. just as long as you are not crying in your beer ;-p.

    Utah is so beautiful, but so strange. They LOVE sugar, tons of it. I think it takes the place of alcohol and caffeine for them.

    We ate at a restaurant out in the country that had a sign “NO Sharing Of Plates”, which of course, made us want to share an appetizer to see if we could get away with it. This little woman in a hair net kept peekiing around the corner at us, frowning.

    Which was bizarre enough, but they were also playing old Yodeling music, which made it even more weird.

  19. Obviously, we need to elect one of these Mormon fellows president right away. Their grasp on reality and modernity is second to none. They are the ones to show us right from wrong, we’ve had it so wrong for so long.

  20. Next they’ll make it law that people drinking must wear over sized burkas and drink underneath them so good mormons aren’t offended by the act of drinking.

  21. The gameplay is equally pathetic. There are not enough options on the filed. You are severely limited in what you can do, leaving you frustrated and disappointed that you were caught yet again. If you played FIFA world cup you no doubt were dazzled by the fabulous gameplay that left soccer fans gaping in awe and admiration. Now why can’t rugby fans be treated similarly and get something worthwhile?

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