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Students across Texas are getting out of school for summer, and that means an increase in parties and an increase in the number of minors attempting to buy alcohol. And the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) is having none of that.

According to a press release on Wednesday, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will be ramping up their efforts to prevent alcohol from being sold to minors across the state of Texas.

How do they do enforce this? By holding what's called "underage compliance operations." Businesses that violate the law could see a fine or temporary suspension of their license to sell alcohol, which is a really big deal. And that's not all. The employee who makes the sale could face a misdemeanor criminal charge.

According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, UCO's have been a very important tool for the agency in recent years, but the coronavirus pandemic made things harder:

UCOs have been an important part of TABC’s toolbox for years, but the pace of operations slowed during 2020 as the agency observed COVID-19 safety protocols.

“While we’re extremely fortunate that the vast majority of alcohol retailers do the right thing, these underage compliance operations play a critical role when it comes to keeping alcohol out of the hands of minors,” said Bentley Nettles, TABC Executive Director. “Now that Texas’ bars and restaurants are open at full capacity, TABC is committed to ensuring retailers are empowered to decline any sale of alcohol that places public safety at risk.”

TABC agents are observing strict health and safety protocols to protect all UCO participants. Participants undergo a COVID-19 rapid test and are screened for contact with the virus before each night’s operation.

 

The way the UCO works is pretty simple. The minor who is working for the TABC attempts to buy alcohol from a retailer who is under surveillance. If the business sells to the minor, they're in trouble.

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