Veteran service organizations may soon receive an exemption from an ordinance prohibiting minors from being in bars. The Knoxville City Council voted 4-1 last Monday to direct city staff to create that exemption, with Carolyn Formanek dissenting. The issue was brought up after a citizen filed a complaint against the VFW for having minors in their building. City code states that if an establishment receives more than 50 percent of its sales from alcohol, it’s considered a bar and may not permit anyone under the age of 21 to enter. An investigation into the complaint revealed that the VFW made about 52 percent of its sales from alcohol.
VFW officials initially asked for exemptions for funerals and for returning veterans that weren’t 21 yet. Knoxville Police Chief Dan Losada said that such specific exemptions would be difficult to enforce. The Council instead decided to exempt veteran service organizations from the ordinance in general. City staff will draw up the ordinance, which will be discussed further at a future Council meeting.