Hey all,If you are bringing alcohol to the playa (and I think about 3/4 of the registered theme camps in the 7:30 sector have bars so this means you) please please please make sure that every one of your camp mates is aware of the state and federal laws about serving alcohol.
If someone looks under 21 – ASK THEIR AGE – better yet as for their ID. They were sending decoys into theme camp areas asking for alcohol last year. 5 camps along our avenue got $1,500.00 tickets for serving alcohol to an underage participant. You can also get a ticket for allowing a person under 21 to hang out in your bar area.
They have even sent a decoy into a camp that was having a private camp dinner and the decoy ‘pestered’ folks until someone gave him a beer so that he/she would leave them alone. PLEASE NOTE – this camp did NOT even have a bar that was serving to participants. It was a private camp dinner.
Yes – it sucks to have to ask for id. But I’ll tell you something – I’ve looked younger than my age my whole life, hell I occasionally still get carded in the real world for buying beer at a grocery store and I just turned 40 (in fact I got carded for buying beer FOR my 40th birthday). And I’ll tell you what, I would have no issue carrying my id with me at burning man if it meant the difference between being served and not being served. It’s not as big a deal as you might think – I mean you’ve got to carry your camelback with your water/tp/hand sanitizer etc with you any way, right?
And post a few signs in your bar area (or around your alcohol if you don’t have an official bar) that says “no one under 21 will be served”. You (and your bartenders) still have to ask the question – “are you 21 or older?” but posting a sign is not only a reminder to your folks to ask that question but also hopefully will discourage under age drinkers from trying.
I’m not sure if it counts to john Q law – but I would say it’s a reasonable way to prove that your camp has no intentions of serving alcohol to minors. I’d also suggest that you post something behind the bar that only your bartenders can see that gives you the month days and year that would make a person of legal drinking age. So you can ask them what their birthday is and you can gauge their reaction (ie thinking too long) as a way to judge. Note: that still isn’t a substitute for an ID – if they don’t look 21 and have no ID don’t serve them.
Cause I don’t know about you all, but I don’t have the spare $$ these days to not ‘trouble’ someone who looks under 21 about asking for their id.
It would be REALLY nice if Reverend Bloodshot or myself didn’t have to spend a day going around to all the 160+ camps in the 7:30 area and ‘reminding’ them of this policy (which has happened for the past two years because the cops like doing stings in our neck of the woods). PLEASE do forward this to EVERYONE in your camp and make sure the policy is well known.
HepKitten & Reverend Bloodshot
Here’s the official language:
** Bars on the Playa
Local law enforcement would like to see us continue to address the potential issue of underage drinking at our event. Though we, the project, are not offering alcohol to anyone and are not responsible for bars at Burning Man, there are possible consequences for camps with bars and us if we do not address this concern. Please read the following to make sure you are fully informed.
We do not believe that there are any rampant problems with underage drinking at our event that would merit investigation. However, you should be aware of Nevada laws on underage drinking. Here are some useful facts:
– It is a misdemeanor to serve alcoholic beverages to anyone under 21 years old in Nevada. The law still applies if the alcohol is gifted as opposed to sold. Theme camps are considered public space and subject to enforcement of this law. (NRS 202.055) In 2001 the Nevada State Supreme Court limited the application of NRS 202.055 to only servers who had actual or constructive knowledge that the person seeking the alcohol was under 21. This means that you must card someone who looks underage. Conversely, if someone looks of age you are not required to card him or her.
– It is a misdemeanor for a minor to consume or possess an alcoholic beverage in a public space (e.g., theme camps, open playa, center
camp, etc). (NRS 202.020)
– It is a misdemeanor for a minor to pass him or herself off as being of age. (NRS 202.040)
– Misdemeanors carry the following penalties: Up to 6 months in county jail, and/or a fine up to $1,000. Alternatively, community service may be sentenced in lieu of, or in conjunction with jail time and fines. (NRS 176.087)
– If a minor loiters in a place where alcoholic beverages are consumed (besides a food establishment) then the minor could receive a fine up
to $500. (NRS 202.030) Also, if the person in charge of the “tavern” allows the minor to loiter then he or she could be fined up to $500 also. (NRS 202.060)
Enforcement of the laws is either done by carding the person outright, or through undercover sting operations. None of this is new and not terribly different from most other state laws.
But what can you do to #1 Avoid illegally serving minors?, #2 Avoid being cited, or #3 If cited, demonstrate the due diligence against serving minors you used when operating a bar on the playa?
1) Don’t serve anyone without ID, who appears underage.
2) Ask for ID for anyone who appears underage. Learn to read it properly and determine by the date of birth if the person is old enough to drink.
3) Post “No Minors Allowed – No Minors Served” signs to discourage minors from committing a misdemeanor by loitering, requesting, or consuming alcohol at your bar.
4) Do not allow minors to loiter at your bar: ask them to leave.
5) Confer with a co-server — get a second opinion — when a patron appears “youthfully” over 21.
6) Work together – if you have refused to serve a patron because they do not appear to be of legal age, notify all your bar servers of your decision. There may be undercover operatives working with local law enforcement that attempt to be served more than once.
(NOTE: Federal and local law enforcement priorities differ on one or more of these issue. If you find yourself in an unfortunate encounter please get a badge number and/or name and note what agency you are dealing with. It might come in handy.)
Bottom line: NEVER, NEVER knowingly serve alcohol to a minor! It’s illegal and it’s not cool.