Oceanside joins other cities in alcohol sales training

OCEANSIDE — The City Council unanimously approved on Wednesday the introduction of an ordinance to require training for workers who serve alcoholic beverages.

The required four-hour training focuses on preventing service to minors, and over-service to adults. The goal is public health and safety.

Most speakers at the meeting said the decision to require training is a “no-brainer.”

Several people shared personal stories of tragedy that resulted from DUI car accidents.

“My friend was plowed by a DUI driver and killed two weeks ago,” Councilman Chuck Lowery said. “I really support this.”

Training is provided for free through Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs, which is funded by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Training is also available for a $25 fee per person from Responsible Beverage Service, a private provider.

Erica Leary, North Coastal Prevention Coalition program manager, said the training helps servers fully understand the impacts of serving to minors and over-serving. She said many of those who have taken the training said they would change the way they do their job.

In a report on the impact of server training in North County, complied by Leary and other experts, those who took the training said they are more confident making the decision to cut people off from drinking, and have tools to say no to customers.

Leary added there has been strong support from Oceanside businesses.

Students from Rancho Buena Vista High School spoke in favor of the training.

“They should become aware of this problem,” one student said.

The North County cities of Encinitas, Solana Beach, Vista, San Marcos and Poway require server training.

Oceanside City Council gave direction to city staff to develop regulations in May, when they voted to ban the sale of beer and wine at fast-food drive-thrus. Input on rules was given by city code enforcement, police, planning, and attorneys.

Oceanside will require restaurants and bars to have current servers trained within 180 days of the effective ordinance, and new servers trained within 90 days.

David Manley, neighborhood services division manager, said assurance of employee training will be on an honor system.

“We can do enforcement if necessary,” Manley added.

Oceanside’s ordinance will go into effect 30 days after the City Council gives final approval at an upcoming meeting.

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