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Yorkville considers allowing 18-year-olds to sell packaged liquor

Eighteen-year-olds might be able to ring up alcohol at liquor stores and other places that sell packaged liquor in Yorkville in a proposal recently discussed by a Yorkville City Council committee.

Currently, those 18 and older can serve or sell open alcohol at restaurants that primarily serve food, not alcohol, but employees have to be 21 or older to sell packaged liquor – for example, a case of beer – at those same restaurants along with grocery stores, liquor stores, convenience stores and other establishments.

The state law allows the city to change its ordinance to allow 18-year-olds to serve or sell packaged liquor across the board at all establishments, no matter the liquor license classification, according to a memo from Deputy City Clerk Lisa Pickering to the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

Alderman Seaver Tarulis, the committee’s vice chairman, and Alderman Chris Funkhouser, committee member, discussed the issue at the July 5 Public Safety Committee meeting. Chairman Carlo Colosimo and member Arden Joe Plocher did not attend the meeting, according to meeting records.

Police Chief Rich Hart told the committee that the city wants to make the rule more consistent across the board.

Hart said the rule to allow those 18 and older to serve alcohol at restaurants, approved in 1998, was requested by some of the family-owned restaurants in town at the time, and that the police department and the city have not seen any problems related to that rule.

“I know we’ve getting some complaints at Jewel and [stores] like that, where [the customer] has to wait for someone 21 or over to come and [scan the liquor],” Hart said.

Hart said some restaurants have a policy that servers have to be 21 or older, and that the restaurants’ insurance policies won’t allow younger people to serve.

“If that’s an inside rule, I get it, but we’re just looking for clarification to make it the same across the board,” he said.

Hart said the servers between 18 and 21 readily recognize the vertical Illinois driver’s licenses that show someone is under the age of 21.

“I think the 18-year-olds know what that [underage] driver’s license looks like, more than the adults do,” he said. “Like we always explain to [the servers], if you see a driver’s license that’s up-and-down, you don’t even look at the date and you hand it back. The servers over 21 are always looking at the [underage licenses] and going, this is weird, and they’re trying to figure out the date. But the kids all know because, they know.”

Hart said city officials were approached about restaurants or bars that also serve package liquor and said that it would help clarify the rule.

“That was part of the confusion: an 18- or 19-year-old working as a waiter or waitress can take the alcohol out and serve it to [a patron] but if they order a 12-pack to go, technically they can’t get the 12-pack,” he said.

The issue was continued to the next Public Safety Committee meeting.

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