SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — UPDATE — Tue. Sept. 1 The DABC said The State Room delivered a check in person to DABC offices Monday. "We feel it would not be fair to punish 'State Room' since they brought it in while an employee was still present," the DABC said through spokesman Terry Wood. As a result, Punch Bowl Social is the lone alcohol license not renewed. HB4004 stated the extended deadline was Aug. 31, the day the check was delivered.
UPDATE — 5:30 p.m. The DABC said two bars, The State Room and Punch Bowl Social did not renew licenses.
UPDATE — 3:30 p.m. The DABC says now four bars have not renewed licensing, not including one that has no plans to renew.
In a tough economic year, a deadline is looming for Utah bars to license with the state and with only hours left, it looks like most Utah alcohol businesses have elected to stay in business.
On Aug. 25, 59 Utah bars hadn't renewed their licences after a mandated shutdown for COVID-19 was hard on the hospitality industry. A week later, a DABC spokesman said with a 5 p.m. Monday deadline, one bar has said it will not renew its license and six others haven't yet done the required paperwork and check writing. By 5 p.m. Monday, licenses that aren't renewed automatically expire.
Of the six that haven't completed payment, two are in the Price area, according to Wood who said "quite a few" of the bars have renewed licensing in the last week. Monday's deadline is three months after the usual licensing period but because the coronavirus pandemic shut down much of Utah's economy, including bars that are not allowed to offer curbside or to-go orders, the deadline was extended.
Punch Bowl Social said it is the one business that will let its liquor license expire. It offered a restaurant, alcohol and entertainment, opening in late 2019. It released a statement:
"We will not be re-opening the Salt Lake City location but look forward to welcoming guests at our other locations across the country."
In July struggling restaurant and bar owners were pleading for permission from the state government to sell sealed-up alcohol to-go. Many were allowed to open on May 1, under new guidelines, but the economic realities of COVID-19 have created tough times for many establishments that reported a steep drop in business. Wood said laws in Utah mean there are people putting businesses together but not enough licenses to go around.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a special session bill into law that has also extended alcohol license deadlines for non-bar establishments. Instead of the usual deadline for renewal, the new date to complete paperwork and payment to the state is Dec. 21.
Utah has a waiting list of businesses that want to use any existing liquor licenses, including any that may expire Monday. DABC is not releasing the names of the bars before the deadline.