Legislators are considering how many bathrooms should be required in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

Current law requires establishments that serve beer, wine and liquor to have a men’s and a women’s bathroom. A bill that cleared a House subcommittee this morning would require just one bathroom for all patrons. Representative Cherielynn Westrich, a Republican from Ottumwa, said she understands the state grants waivers for taverns, bars and restaurants that have just one toilet, but the bill makes that policy permanent.

“With our restaurants and bars during the Covid being adversely affected, we want to make sure we give them future protections to make sure this doesn’t start to happen in the future,” Westrich said.

Bill backers say entrepreneurs may not know they can apply for a waiver from the two-bathroom rule and that may be keeping some Iowans from opening a bar or restaurant with a bar menu.