Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Non-Licensed Restaurants, Clubs in for a Shock July 1

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Non-Licensed Restaurants, Clubs in for a Shock July 1

Article excerpt

A large number of restaurants and clubs in Oklahoma City and the state that are serving alcoholic beverages may have to close down on J uly 1, Ron Willis, interim director of the state Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission said Friday.

Only 76 applications for state licenses had been received from all over the state Friday, he said.

This number, he said, is from 2,300 applications sent out by the Commission on May 15. "The state law clearly says," Willis stated, "that these places cannot operate on or after July 1 without a license, and we have been directed to enforce this and close them down on that date."

Willis said businesses that do not comply "have a great deal to lose" if they don't make application. He said that the commission has asked the legislature for 25 more agents, and that city police departments, district attorneys and sheriff's forces are bound by the law to enforce the provisions. "If they don't," he added, "the law says they can be removed from office."

Also bound to help enforce the law, he said, is the State Highway Patrol and the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation.

The worst part, Willis said, is that if a business is convicted of operating without a license in a state court, not only can it be closed and fined $2,500 and the owners jailed for 30 days, but itwould be banned "forever" from receiving a liquor license from the state.

Of the 76 applications for licenses received by Friday, the director said, 30 were from Tulsa County, only 15 from Oklahoma County, and the rest scattered throughout the state. Only five were from "bottle clubs" in "dry" counties.

"Apparently these people don't think the law will be enforced in dry counties," he observed, "and I predict that they will be the most surprised people in the state, come July 1."

Places serving liquor may continue, under the law, only to July 1 under city licenses. Oklahoma City requires $1,000 for a liquor license, and the state will charge the same amount. Obtaining a state license will require presenting a city license showing that all zoning, fire, health and safety codes have been met. …

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