How Maui Lost Its Groove


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Next time you’re thinking about breaking it down on Maui, you may want to think again.

A county rule prohibits dancing in bars or restaurants, except on a designated dance floor.  County officials say it’s a safety issue—barmaids shouldn’t have to negotiate a conga line on their way to serve you another round. Just one problem: the rule doesn’t define “dancing,” so critics argue that anything, from swaying Stevie-Wonder-style to tapping your feet, can be considered illegal movement.

That means it’s up to individual liquor inspectors to decide if someone’s getting too funky. While only a few warnings have been issued, a citation could, in theory, jeopardize a restaurant’s liquor license. So nervous managers end up asking patrons to cool it, since they’re never sure if their groove is going too far.

Last year the Liquor Commission denied a petition to slacken the rule to allow “moderate movements” off the dance floor. Now the county is facing a lawsuit from a group called the Maui Dance Advocates, saying the rule is unconstitutional and limits free expression.

Can somebody call Kevin Bacon?
 

 

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