The Canton City Council held a special meeting on Wednesday, May 29, to address an infraction of Minnesota basic code 112.34, which addresses the presence of minors in an establishment serving liquor.

The ordinance reads, "No person under the age of 18 years shall be employed in any rooms constituting the place in which intoxicating liquors or 3.2 percent malt liquor are sold at retail on sale, except that persons under the age of 18 may be employed as musicians or to perform the duties of a bus person or dishwashing services in places defined as a restaurant, hotel, motel or other multi-purpose building serving food in rooms in which intoxicating liquors or 3.2 percent malt liquor are sold at retail on sale."

It continues, "No person under the age of 21 years may enter a licensed establishment except to work, consume meals on premises that qualify as a restaurant, or attend social functions that are held in a portion of the premises where liquor is not sold."

The infraction, reported by the Fillmore County Sheriff's office, involved the presence of two under-age persons in the bar after 12 a.m. One of the minors was found to be under the influence of alcohol, although it was determined that the bartender had not served the person following confirmation that she was a minor. The second minor was tested and was not found to have been drinking.

Poppy Zafft, operator of the bar, was present at the council meeting with questions about the issue. Zafft, who holds the license, stated that she had believed that as long as there was no alcohol consumed, it was permissible for underage persons to be in the bar.

Zafft also had some questions regarding how to enforce the restriction.

Mayor Donivee Johnson advised that the bartender should call the Fillmore County Sheriff's office for problems with enforcement.

There was some question as to the Sunday liquor license, which was issued to the ZZ Tap Bar.

This license requires that the bar serving alcohol to be a restaurant in order to serve liquor on Sunday. At the present time, the provisions of the Sunday license are not currently being met.

The ordinance was reviewed; with clarification of preparation of food presented.

Zafft stated that she was working on the matter and she currently believed that she had the proper licensure, and would be checking into the minimum requirements for the Sunday liquor license.

Zafft went on to state that any improvements would necessitate out of pocket expense, since these improvements were expected to be costly.

Council members suggested that Zafft consult the State regarding the minimum requirements and determine the cost effectiveness of improvements.

Zafft went on to state that she felt that she should have been given copies of the applicable ordinances at the time her license was issued, which would have potentially avoided the current problems.

The city council acknowledged that this may be determined to be necessary going forward, but that it was also the proprietor's responsibility to know the law.

There was also some confusion as to the responsibility of the restaurant licensing person to explain the laws at the time of inspection.

As a part of the discussion, Johnson reviewed state residency requirements, currently a part of city ordinances. Zafft was assured that this would not affect her license, since she is considered to be grandfathered in, but due to the almost immediate proximity to Iowa, this part of the city regulation may need to be addressed at a future meeting.

Due to the violation of the statute, it was decided that the bar would be required to be closed on Tuesday, June 4. There was no fine assessed for the first-time violation of the ordinance.