Officials do bars, restaurants a minor favor
BASALT Basalt police are trying to remove some of the sting from an undercover liquor compliance operation they undertook Saturday with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.Basalt police reduced summonses to warnings for seven of nine restaurants and bars they allegedly caught serving alcohol to a minor, Basalt Sgt. Joe Chavira said Wednesday.Chavira and Basalt Police Chief Keith Ikeda decided to reduce the charge for any on-premise liquor establishment that hadn’t been guilty of a prior infraction. Stubbies bar and El Horizonte restaurant still must appear in court on a misdemeanor charge of serving a minor because of prior infractions. The department wouldn’t release the names of the seven establishments that received warnings.The sting also netted two retail liquor establishments, Chavira said: 7-Eleven and Willits Wine and Spirits also received a summons.Chavira said some restaurant operators were rankled by the undercover sting and felt it was designed to set them up for “failure.” He said he understood their anger but he also is concerned about minors being served.”I hope they also understand we as a community have a problem,” he said.Whenever alcohol servers have a question about the age of someone trying to buy alcohol, they must ask for identification, Chavira said.Ikeda previously said that part of the operation was conducted in a way that surprised him. He knew that retail establishments would be tested for liquor compliance. He said he didn’t know bars and restaurants would also be tested.Disclosure was important because Ikeda writes a letter months in advance and warns businesses that they will be tested on liquor compliance. That letter didn’t go out to bars and restaurants before Saturday’s sting.Eagle County investigators undertook the operation with the consent of the Basalt Police Department. A minor was sent into establishments on Saturday evening to buy alcohol. An undercover officer stationed either inside or outside the premises observed the efforts.Eagle County issued summonses for two businesses in El Jebel for serving alcohol to a minor – the Shell station and the Short Stop Bar.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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