Elk Grove Village officials will allow 19- and 20-year-olds to sell and serve alcohol at local restaurants in an effort to help struggling business owners who’ve found it difficult to fill vacant positions.
The village board Tuesday agreed to lower the minimum age for liquor service after local restaurateurs came to them looking for some relief amid being short-staffed during the pandemic.
A subsequent village survey found most neighboring municipalities permit servers under 21, spurring the Elk Grove board to amend village code.
Under the new rules, 19- and 20-year-old servers or employees of a licensed establishment will be able to sell and serve — but not pour or mix — liquor, so long as they complete the BASSET alcohol server training program or an approved equivalent.
Like other towns, Elk Grove had the rule on the books requiring servers to be at least 21 for some time.
“Obviously times have changed, and towns have changed their rules,” said Mayor Craig Johnson. “We’re catching up with the times.”
Elk Grove isn’t a major location for bars in the suburbs; all have a restaurant or food component as part of their operations. So the new rules are intended to support, for instance, a Buffalo Wild Wings, where a server under age 21 can now bring beer and wine to the table along with chicken wings, Johnson said.
The changes take effect Sept. 1.