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Our View: Thumbs down to serving alcohol to minors during Swedish Days

Published: Saturday, July 20, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Thumbs down to serving alcohol to minors during Swedish Days.

Sergio’s Mexican Cantina, Fiora’s Restaurant, and EvenFlow Music and Spirits were cited for serving underage drinkers during an annual police compliance check during the festival.

The owners of Sergio’s and Fiora’s waived their rights to a hearing and each agreed to pay a $1,000 fine and have their liquor licenses suspended for one 24-hour period. Fiora’s license was suspended Friday and Sergio’s will be suspended Aug. 23.

EvenFlow’s owners agreed to pay a $1,500 fine and to have their liquor license suspended from 2 a.m. Aug. 16 to 1:59 a.m. Aug. 17. Mayor Kevin Burns said the higher fine was due to an earlier infraction by EvenFlow.

This year, the 24-hour suspensions will be served within 30 days of the punishment being doled out, as opposed to waiting for next year’s Swedish Days Festival. Burns, who also serves as the city’s liquor commissioner, said penalties need to be severe and swift.

When laws governing intoxicating liquor aren’t followed – especially when the infraction is serving those not legally allowed to drink – the establishment that broke them should be punished.

The owners of Sergio’s and Fiora’s have publicly pledged to work to ensure similar incidents won’t happen again.

That’s encouraging. The money they will lose from not being allowed to sell alcohol will be a harsh reminder of their errors, and one hopes it will serve as a warning to other establishments about the importance of following the law when it comes to serving alcohol.

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