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St. Paul increases age for entering liquor stores

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Liquor bottles sit on a shelf
A St. Paul council member says the goal of the measure is to deter minors from gaining access to alcohol.
Paul Middlestaedt for MPR News file

Updated: Sept. 12, 9:11 a.m.

Anyone inside a liquor store in St. Paul must now be 21, unless accompanied by an adult older than 21.

St. Paul city council members on Wednesday raised the age of people allowed to enter liquor stores by themselves from 18 to 21.

The intent is to deter teens from gaining access to tobacco sold in liquor stores and alcohol, said Ward 1 Council Member Dai Thao, who proposed the measure.

“Alcohol also causes death and health issues, accidents and things like that that put a lot of burden on the system and the individual itself.” Thao said.

In a letter, the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association urged council members not to make the change because it puts parents in difficult positions if they need to enter a liquor store and are with their children.

Those under the age of 21 can still enter stores if they enter with an adult over the age limit.

The council is also considering raising the age of people allowed to buy tobacco and related devices from 18 to 21. A public hearing on the issue is set for Oct. 16.

State lawmakers last spring considered a statewide ban on tobacco for people under age 21. Minneapolis and other cities have already enacted similar measures.