New legislation allows swim-up bars and younger servers

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LANSING, Michigan — New liquor laws aim to help the restaurant industry deal with staffing shortages, which means you’ll be able to get booze from younger servers and in wetter environments .

“It opens up another pool of people who want to get into the industry, into the hospitality industry,” said Scott Ellis, executive director of the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association.

A bill, which went to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office on Thursday, allows servers as young as 17 to serve alcoholic beverages. The other, which has yet to be approved, would allow hotels, resorts and water parks to open pool bars.

“We think it will have a huge impact,” Ellis said. “If you’ve traveled anywhere in the state of Michigan in the last couple of years, especially the last year, you’ll find that service is strained at times, and that’s literally because they don’t have not enough staff to do the job.

Ellis said these new laws will especially help businesses in the North.

“We believe this will have a huge impact on the industry, especially in Northern Michigan. We see a lot of resorts and places that are hurting, struggling to find staff,” he said.

Initially, regulators at the Michigan Liquor Control Commission expressed some concerns about allowing 17-year-olds to serve alcohol.

“Immaturity and peer pressure may contribute to a younger employee selling or serving other underage or intoxicated individuals,” the commission wrote in its early concerns to the legislature.

Lawmakers took those concerns into consideration and amended the bill, adding mandatory training for young servers and requiring a supervisor who is at least 18 years old to be present when a 17-year-old is serving food. alcohol. Now the Liquor Control Commission says it is neutral about the new legislation.

In addition to helping the restaurant industry deal with its staffing shortages, Ellis said, allowing swim-up bars in Michigan will make accompanying kids to water parks even more enjoyable.

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