City council members in Iowa City held a work session Monday where they discussed some changes to the new ordinance that’s supposed to be keeping anyone under the age of 21 out of bars after ten at night. The recommendations come from some downtown bar owners and an alcohol safety group that includes the University of Iowa.
The owner of the bar “Bo James,” Leah Cohen told the council that a few bars have found ways to get around the ordinance. Cohen says the situation has reversed back to the way it was two years ago before the under 21 ordinance. She says “PAULA’s” (posession of alcohol under the legal age), ambulance calls and hospital visits have started to climb back up.
The ordinance has an exemption for businesses that show over 50% of their sales are not alchohol. Councilwoman Susan Mims said she is leery of making the restrictions to tough for restaurants. “There are some legitimate restaurants that we are hurting,” Mims says.
The council is looking at putting stricter limits on the number of PAULA violations a business can have, and tightening the exemptions for bars that serve food.