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June 22, 2018

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County considers beer, wine sales at hair salons

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Daniel Krieger / The New York Times

A client drinks beer while receiving a cut at Blind Barber Shop in New York, May 28, 2015. A proposed Clark County ordinance would approve alcohol service at salons, barbershops and spas.

Customers at salons and barbershops would have the option to buy beer and wine with their haircuts under a proposed Clark County ordinance, though some commissioners are concerned about expanding alcohol availability in a town where it is available 24 hours a day.

At least seven states have approved alcohol service at salons, barbershops and spas, according to the National Conference of State Legislators, and Nevada is not one of them. Commissioner Lawrence Weekly said during a Tuesday meeting that the Clark County proposal was pushed by industry, with business owners saying that many customers asked if they offered drinks like the businesses in some of their hometowns.

California approved its law allowing free beer or wine in 2016, with similar laws on the books in Maryland, Mississippi, Utah, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia, according to a December 2017 report from conference. Some businesses in Clark County serve alcohol on a limited basis through liquor catering companies. The county ordinance would allow barber shops and cosmetology establishments to pursue permits to purchase wholesale beer and wine that they sell to customers.

County Commissioner Susan Brager said she is concerned about expanding alcohol availability in a town with legal marijuana and other businesses already serving beer and wine. She said the ordinance would need to be crafted narrowly for her to support it and that she is in favor of paint studios selling wine.

“I think that pretty soon we’re opening up the door that any business could figure out a way to be able to serve wine and beer, and then next up they want to sell liquor,” Brager said.

Some commissioners raised concerns about enforcement as well, saying establishments might say they are hair salons when really the business is primarily alcohol sales. Jacqueline Holloway, director of the business license department, said existing enforcement should be enough to ensure those with permits are complying with the law.

“Not knowing exactly how many permits we’ll be vetting and looking at, we will be able to use the resources that we currently have, I believe,” Holloway said.

The proposal would require businesses to turn in specific operational plans for where and how the alcohol will be served and fit into the business. Approved businesses must also post signage letting patrons know alcohol is served inside, meet health district requirements and provide a security plan to keep minors away from the alcohol.

Comments from potentially impacted business owners were almost entirely in support of the ordinance, Holloway said. Some wanted the county to include more services and businesses. Owners of an art studio and a proposed dog park said Tuesday that beer and wine would be a small part of their primary business. Holloway said that paint studios that offer wine in their classes do so through alcohol catering services.

In addition to an ancillary liquor permit for cosmetology establishments and barbershops, the ordinance would allow certain retail establishments to seek a hospitality liquor service permit to serve complimentary beer and wine to patrons. Holloway said these permits could be sought only by retail stores in certain areas, including Fashion Show mall, the county’s only regional commercial center, and commercial centers that are bigger than 150,000 square feet and have one or two large anchor stores.

“Anyone can make the request of us for a permit or a license, but we’ll vet that,” Holloway said.

The retail part of the ordinance is mainly being sought for stores like Gucci to offer an amenity to customers who make large purchases, Holloway said. The ordinance would also limit the amount of alcohol that could be served per customer to two 8-ounce drinks.

The ordinance would also allow main bars inside certain resorts, liquor store license holders and brew pub to fill growlers, a refillable beer jug. There are sanitation requirements that businesses have to follow for these types of jugs, Holloway said.

Commissioners are also considering provisions that allow restaurants to charge a corking fee to reseal wine bottles that customers can take with them. The ordinance also increases the amount of time before a holiday that businesses have to apply for a special event permit.

The commission on Tuesday approved a business impact statement related to the proposal and set a public meeting for 10 a.m. March 6.

The ordinance covers:

• The addition of an ancillary liquor permit for cosmetology establishments and barbershops

• A hospitality liquor service permit for certain retail establishments

• Growler service for main bars within resort hotels, liquor store licensees and brew pubs

• Provisions to allow restaurants to charge a corkage fee and seal partially consumed bottles of wine for removal by customers

• Requirements for operational and security plans

• An increase in the time prior to a holiday special event required to file for a permit