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Marquette County restaurants support lowering age to serve alcohol

Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 4:59 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE COUNTY, Mich. (WLUC) - U.P. businesses struggling through the labor shortage now have a new set of employees to serve alcoholic beverages.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill into law June 14 allowing 17-year-olds to serve alcohol at restaurants. Harvey’s Lake Superior Smokehouse Owner Scott Arbour said his business looks forward to the extra help.

“I think it will help with labor shortages, though at a younger age, from a business perspective, we have to be cautious of who is serving alcohol and making sure they are TIPS certified,” Arbour said.

Champion’s Jerzi’s 41 Sports Bar and Grill Owner Jamie Clark said she sees more positives than negatives with the new bill.

“I think welcoming in the 17-year-olds is going to be able to give them the opportuning to save up for college, get a head start on their career, maybe get a nicer car to get them to and from work. I think it’s just good all around,” Clark said.

And, this will be especially helpful during the summer.

“Everybody comes up to the U.P. and we get a little busier in the summer so it’ll be great that people can jump in now and then slow off in the fall and that’s okay because they start school,” Clark said.

Gwinn’s Up North Lodge also believes the extra hands will be beneficial this busy summer season.

“We have many events in our backyard along with inside in the bar and restaurant and on top of that we have 20 weddings in the events center so it’s going to be a huge help,” Up North Lodge General Manager Jessie Melchiori said.

Teens must complete a training program through the Michigan Liquor Control Commission to handle alcoholic beverages. The law also requires that a supervisor age 18 or older is present if the minors are serving alcohol.

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