NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Tennessee regulators are planning to crack down on the illegal sale of alcohol to minors.
The Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission announced on Friday that it will be conducting compliance checks at businesses across the state.
“Our agents have conducted underage compliance checks over the past couple of months, and quite frankly the compliance rate has been dismal, with about half of those checked in May selling to minors,” said TABC Deputy Chief Brent Clayton in a news release.
According to the TABC, of the 177 establishments the agency has checked since the COVID-19 pandemic began, 69 sold alcohol to minors.
The TABC conducted curbside and to-go order compliance checks after the pandemic resulted in the disruption of normal alcohol sales. The agency says that only five out of 150 establishments surveyed offered alcohol by delivery.
Due to “significant marketplace disruptions” caused by the pandemic, TABC only issued warnings during the months of May and June to establishments caught selling alcohol to minors.
That will no longer be the case.
“In addition to the low compliance rate, we have received numerous complaints from the public regarding the sale of alcohol to minors. Going forward, we will issue regulatory citations, including a monetary fine, as Tennessee law prescribes to those who sell to a minor,” said TABC Chief Law Enforcement Officer Bond Tubbs. “Furthermore, the server or clerk will be issued a misdemeanor criminal citation and regulatory citation that could possibly lead to the revocation of their server permit.”
The agency says establishments that have received warnings can expect to be rechecked for compliance within 90 days.
Bars and restaurants will not be the only establishments subject to compliance checks. The TABC will also be checking package stores and food stores.