Imagine another routine day working behind the bar at your establishment. A customer walks up and asks for a beer. You size them up and they seem sober and confident, but they look like they might be a little young. Think fast – what do you do? Ask to see I.D., or make the sale and send them on their way? If you chose option number two, you would have failed the test.
This past Saturday marked Reno’s Wine Walk event, and several businesses were cited for serving minors. The Reno area’s Regional Street Enforcement Team, comprised of area police departments, conducts regular alcohol compliance and TAM Card checks. On Saturday, the Team sent two 19 year-old volunteers out to attempt alcohol purchases at twelve area businesses. This time around, five of the twelve businesses made sales to the minors.
The penalties can be severe. In Nevada, serving alcohol to a minor and allowing a minor into a bar are misdemeanors, with a pre-designated fine of $500. Now, think about your training. Would you pass an alcohol compliance check? Here are some tips for keeping things safe and legal:
- Get your mandatory TAM® Card and alcohol awareness training. TAM® will train you on how to correctly check identification and how to spot fake, borrowed, or altered ID. Police officers may ask to see your alcohol awareness card during an alcohol compliance check, so it is important to be prepared.
- Check ID very carefully, and look for any inconsistencies. Watch for anyone who seems either nervous, or over confident. When checking the birth date of a customer, don’t rely only on the birth year alone to confirm someone is of legal drinking age. Minors may try to pull a fast one on busy or distracted workers by purchasing alcohol just a few months or weeks shy of their 21st birthdays.
- A hole punched into a driver license renders it invalid for identification purposes. The Nevada DMV may hole-punch driver licenses and identification cards when someone renews their license, transfers an out-of-state license, or a variety of other scenarios. The DMV will mail the new license to the individual, so this is just a temporary situation for license holders. The DMV will issue a temporary paper document with information matching the punched-out driver license. This document only serves as a confirmation that the application is pending; it is not a form of identification (Nevada DMV). Check with your employer for company policy on acceptable ID policy. Cautious businesses might want to request another form of valid identification such as a passport or military ID.
Every establishment needs policies to prevent alcohol sales to minors, and to protect themselves from liability, and the public from harm. Tell us in the Comments below – how else do you think service workers can help curb teen drinking?
- Central Issuance Frequently Asked Questions – State of Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles
- Five cited during Reno Wine Walk alcohol compliance operation – Reno Gazette-Journal