SAN ANTONIO – The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is working to keep alcohol away from underage people this spring break by having undercover agents visit liquor stores, bars and other locations where alcohol is sold to ensure laws are followed.
“We understand there are going to be a lot of college students across the state who may be having what we call a ‘stay-cation,’ where they remain in their cities. And so here in locations like Austin, Houston, San Antonio, we will be conducting these undercover operations in those locations as well,” said Chris Porter, public information officer for TABC.
With the statewide coronavirus restrictions lifted, agents with TABC will be busy this spring break.
“What TABC is doing is similar to what we’ve done in years past, where we conduct a statewide undercover operation with the goal of being able to help businesses prevent the sale of alcohol to minors, as well as to intoxicated patrons,” Porter said.
Porter said that, in years past, the agents conducted anywhere between 1,000 and 1,500 inspections statewide during spring break.
“Of those, we generally see about a 95% to 98% compliance rate statewide, including at places like liquor stores and convenience stores,” Porter said.
The agency said businesses that sell alcohol to people younger than 21 could face a civil fine or suspension of their license to sell alcohol.
Employees who conduct the sale could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail.
“For the person who is attempting to lie about their age or something of that nature to purchase alcohol, they could additionally face a misdemeanor charge by their local police authorities,” Porter said. “So ultimately, we hope people will take these lessons to heart and they’ll understand what the safe options are when they do go out and celebrate this year for spring break.”
Over the last couple of months, TABC has been focused on enforcing COVID-19 restrictions set by the state at bars and restaurants that TABC licensed.
“Since last June, we’ve conducted more than 41,000 inspections, and so far, in about 280 cases, we actually had to issue a suspension,” Porter said.
To learn more about TABC’s public safety efforts, visit tabc.texas.gov/public-safety.