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Input Sought on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Sign Ordinance

A new county ordinance would require businesses that sell alcohol to warn their customers about fetal alcohol syndrome.

Hillsborough County commissioners are considering an ordinance that would require all establishments that serve alcohol to post a sign warning about the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome.

Fetal alcohol syndrome can cause growth, mental and physical impairments that may occur in a baby when a mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy, according to the National Institute of Health.

Currently, businesses that serve alcohol must post a sign warning that it's unlawful to serve alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age. The administration and enforcement of the new ordinance would be delegated to the Code Enforcement Department, according to the proposed ordinance.

On Wednesday, Oct. 3, county commissioners voted to hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance. The hearing is set for Oct. 17 at 2 p.m.

Businesses that serve alcohol, including bars, pubs, liquor stores and restaurants, would have six months after the passing of the ordinance to comply.

News of the proposed ordinance created mixed emotions for one Citrus Park business owner.

“To put up a sign is fine. I have no problem with that," said LuAnn Schapiro, owner of a retail wine store, Napa Flair. "I would be upset if they were telling me that, if a pregnant lady comes in and asks for a little glass of wine, I'd have to tell her it's illegal."

"Whether or not someone wants to drink a responsible amount of wine while they’re pregnant is really a personal decision," said Ken Schapiro, LuAnn's husband and co-owner of Napa Flair. "Not something the government ought to be regulating.”

Bloomingdale-Riverview, what do you think? Should establishments that sell and serve alcohol be required to post signs about fetal alcohol syndrome?

Make Your Voice Heard: A public hearing on the proposed county ordinance is set for Oct. 17 at 2 p.m. at County Center, 601 E. Kennedy Blvd.

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