Private club law comes to end in Utah

July 2, 2009 at 1:52 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, July 2 (UPI) -- Some Utah residents say the state's decision to repeal its private club law for bars and taverns was an overdue step in the right direction.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of people flocked to bars in Salt Lake City Wednesday following the repeal of the state law that had required bar patrons to buy a membership to the site before being able to drink legally, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Members of the hospitality industry successfully urged Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. to do away with the law, instituted in 1969 at the urging of prominent members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to limit alcohol consumption.

The Tribune spoke with a number of bar patrons embracing their newfound drinking freedoms.

"It's epic: You can just walk in and out," bar patron Jon Schrenk told the newspaper. "It's so much better than before."

"I think this is the biggest change ever, and most of us aren't even going to notice it," patron Chris Young offered. "But those who are coming in from out of town can just walk in and order a drink and not be asked if they have a membership."

When the club law was repealed, Utah lawmakers passed stricter laws regarding drunken driving and identification checks at the state's bars and taverns, the newspaper said.

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