Our View: Celebrate season safely | SteamboatToday.com

Our View: Celebrate season safely

At Issue

Five local establishments fail compliance check

Our View

The timing couldn't have been better

Editorial Board

Suzanne Schlicht, publisher and COO

Lisa Schlichtman, editor

Jim Patterson, assistant editor

Tom Ross, reporter

Diane Moore, community representative

Carl Steidtmann, community representative

We were dismayed this week to read in the newspaper that five of 18 businesses checked this week by the the Colorado Department of Revenue Liquor and Tobacco Enforcement sold alcohol to an underage shopper working with officers. We thought our resort community had come so far in the past decade.

It was in September of 2005 when nine out of 11 liquor stores checked in a similar compliance check operation sold alcohol to a minor. The fact that 81 percent rate of the stores failed caught the attention of local police and certainly the broader community.

Compliance checks became a priority for the Steamboat Springs Police Department, which took on some of the responsibility. It was only last year, in June 2014, that Steamboat package liquor stores, restaurants and taverns put up a clean score, with 34 bars and 14 package stores refusing to sell alcohol to a minor working with liquor and tobacco enforcement.

This week’s news reminds us that we cannot relax our efforts to curb the sale of alcohol to minors.

Some would properly make the case that youth in our community have other ways of obtaining alcohol and it’s really the problem of bartenders overserving that we should focus on. We see merit in that position; however, we also think that this month’s compliance check was perfectly timed as the community prepares to host more than 14,000 vacationers on the night of Dec. 26.

Young adults in the community may know how to pilfer a bottle from their parents’ liquor cabinet without being detected, but ours is a resort town where hundreds, even thousands of young adults bent on releasing the tension from college exams, for example, will soon descend on our businesses, many with fake IDs. Servers will be confronted with many unfamiliar faces, and the pressure will be on to move from one customer to the next.

As of August 2014, Steamboat had 94 active liquor licenses, showing the business of selling alcohol is a big part of the tourist economy. At the same time, we have an obligation to the family and friends of vacationers to enforce liquor laws in effort to help keep them safe.

We hope employers in the community will sit down with their employees and remind them that they are never too busy to check an ID. Steamboat Springs is a resort community where our livelihoods depend on our ability to show people a good time while staying within the law.

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