Columbia City Council requires training for alcohol control

Monday, November 19, 2012 | 10:33 p.m. CST; updated 11:29 p.m. CST, Monday, November 19, 2012

COLUMBIA — Establishments in Columbia that sell alcohol will now be trained to spot fake IDs and intoxicated patrons.

The Columbia City Council passed an ordinance on Monday night requiring employees of businesses that serve alcohol to have a server's card. The ordinance applies to restaurants, convenience and grocery stores, and other venues that serve alcohol. Now that it has passed, it will be a year before the ordinance is in full effect.

The Substance Abuse Advisory Commission, which proposed the ordinance, suggested that handlers use the State of Missouri Alcohol Responsibility Training, a free online program also known as SMART. Once handlers have completed training, they can apply for the required card.

"I think anything geared toward education is an excellent idea," Fifth Ward Councilwoman Helen Anthony said.

The commission has worked on the ordinance for several years and made an effort to involve restauranteurs and retailers who will be effected by the ordinance.

"I've been listening to input from bar owners for years," Kim Dude, a member of the commission, said. "This seems to be the best compromise by providing the training as conveniently, inexpensively and effectively as possible."

There was no opposition to the ordinance when the commission held a public hearing in September.

If a server already has a food handler's card, the permit from the city now required by the ordinance is free. Without a food handler's card, the permit cost $5.

Steve Hollis, a commission member, suggests that servers complete the training and get their permit when they go to renew their food handler's card.

The consequences of ordinance violators will be at the Missouri Alcohol and Tobacco Control, state and city prosecutors and business administrators discretion, Eric Hughes, the Columbia Police Department appointee to the commission, said.

Supervising editor is Karen Miller.

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