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Barbershops and beauty salons to sell alcohol in San Francisco

Published On: 08-20-2015 in Category: alcohol rehab, debate, sober living

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The City by the Bay is known for its progression and change. With such a rich history, San Francisco’s local residents may not be surprised by the revitalization of its various downtown districts. One new trend is the introduction of alcohol sales at barbershops and beauty salons, but the resulting complications are in need of greater exploration.

One particular legislative development that is getting more traction in the media is California State Assembly Bill 1322, which will allow barbershops and beauty salons to serve alcohol without the need for a traditional liquor license. The current issue at hand is the ideological split between bill supporters, who are primarily in the industry of haircutting and styling, and those who oppose it, dominantly affiliated with alcohol control and abuse prevention organizations.

The story is also gaining ground due to the disconnect between businesses and the current law. After an investigative survey of 10 hair grooming businesses by ABC News, journalists found that four did not serve alcohol, three served alcohol regularly and the last three only served alcohol on occasion. Another report from Press Democrat found that barbershop and salon owners are required to apply for a Type 42 license under current regulations. This license is the standard for all businesses that currently serve alcohol onsite, such as bars and nightclubs, and must be renewed each year.

If AB 1322 passes in the state, the businesses mentioned in the bill will be able to offer their clients a single serving of beer or wine during a visit and it must be free of charge. The standard drink size for beer is 12 ounces, six ounces for wine. The store or company given this new privilege is also responsible for restricting access to minors. Although defensive measures are in place, individuals against the bill believe that increased availability of alcohol, regardless of its restrictions, will lead to a rise of community problems. In terms of supportive research, a review by Paul J. Gruenewald, Ph.D., from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation in Berkeley, California, found that increased outlet density has been observed to have a relationship with violence and other social hindrances. Overall, the research outcomes are mixed, as other studies found no connections.

Some businesses have gone in the opposite direction. Through a community program known as Health Retail SF, multiple stores in San Francisco have revitalized their sales and their customers with more nutritious products. One local convenience store in the Tenderloin District recently replaced its usual stock of alcohol with fruit and vegetables. Although known as a disadvantaged community, the healthy change led to higher sales of produce than ever before. Many experts also cite the imbalance of available nutrition versus the affluence of liquor stores for the increased rates of alcohol abuse, addiction and related crime.

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