Utah alcohol regulators plan to temporarily close Park City liquor store
State says staffing shortage led to decision to shutter Swede Alley location
Utah alcohol regulators plan to temporarily close the state liquor store on Swede Alley on Tuesday for an unspecified period of time, making the unusual move as Park City enters what is normally a solid stretch in the tourism industry.
The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control said the closure is expected to last several weeks. The department said a staffing shortage led to the decision to temporarily close the store. It said staffing has been an issue at the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control since the outset of the spread of the novel coronavirus, indicating there have been shortages at many of the liquor stores in the state.
“Park City has been especially hard hit,” the department said in a release.
The staffers at the store on Swede Alley will be shifted on a temporary basis to the liquor store at Snow Creek. The Snow Creek store will remain open, as will the one at Kimball Junction. The store on Sidewinder Drive, serving restaurants, bars and the hospitality industry, will also remain open.
The department said it “is working on creative solutions to get the Swede Alley store fully staffed and reopened as soon as possible.”
The liquor store on Swede Alley, just off Main Street, is seen as especially important to the tourism industry. It provides a convenient spot to purchase alcohol for people who live or are staying in Old Town. There has been a liquor store in the Main Street core for decades, first on Main Street itself and then the current location on Swede Alley.
The Historic Park City Alliance, an organization that represents businesses in the Main Street core, sees the liquor store as an “essential service,” Alison Kuhlow, the executive director, said after the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control announced the temporary closure. She described the liquor store as serving Parkites and visitors.
“It’s part of their routine, to go to the liquor store, just like going to the post office,” Kuhlow said about Parkites.
The Swede Alley location, meanwhile, provides an “important message” to visitors that “we have liquor stores, too,” Kuhlow said.
“There’s always that rumor liquor’s hard to get in Utah,” she said.
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Park City-area lodging projections for the final month-plus of the ski season point to a solid finish to a winter that has appeared to outperform economically after early worries the continued spread of the novel coronavirus could cut deep into the tourism industry.