COPY-New drinking law brings changes to Wisconsin Valley Fair - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

COPY-New drinking law brings changes to Wisconsin Valley Fair

WAUSAU (WAOW) -- A new drinking law in Wausau is bringing some changes to the Wisconsin Valley Fair.

This is the 146th year of the fair. For the very first time, there are drinking restrictions on those handing out the beer.

At the Wausau Noon Optimist tent this pour is for a good cause.

“We sell beer to raise money for the kids in the area,” said optimist vice president Wade Schuette.

This year, in order to do that, there are some new rules to follow.

“They are required to have a daily person in charge, as if they were the owner,” explained Romey Wagner, Wausau city council president.

Now, the city's sober server ordinance applies to beer tents. The ordinance says servers cannot have a blood alcohol level of more than .04 while working. Wagner says it was put in place to keep people safe, and make sure bartenders make good decisions.

“These rules have to ring true for every opportunity where the public is served alcohol,” said Wagner.

The ordinance states that each beer tent must have at least one person in charge. That person is required to oversee all the bartenders, and volunteers, making sure they follow the law.

“If someone is consuming too much while tending bar, we can replace them, we can take them out even if they are a volunteer,” said Wagner.

Schuette says the rules are a change, but they'll follow them.

“We don't want to be in trouble, and as a service organization we want to have a good name out there,” said Schuette.

In the past, there were no rules regarding how much beer a bartender could drink. That's why city leaders say education is key.

“We invited an officer from the police department to come in and explain,” said Wagner.

“We talked about it in our weekly meeting and discussed it to make sure we were complying with the ordinance,” added Schuette.

While there is a lot of change, Schuette says one thing will stay the same.

“We have a lot of fun and that doesn't change that at all,” he said.

Wausau police officers say they will enforce this law, just like all the rest within the city. They were unsure how many citations, if any, have been issued since the law went into effect in January.

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