Inspectors with Cecil's Liquor Board just wrapped up another round of Stay Alert checks.
"That's where we send in a 21-year-old without I.D. to see if they are checked. Of 72 locations, 16 sold to them without checking. Then we go back to them with someone under 21 and see if they sell then," said Earl Bradford, Chief Inspector for the Cecil County Liquor Board.
"We still have more work to do. The more checks we do the better the compliance," said Bradford.
In 2016, inspectors did three rounds of compliance checks to make sure retailers weren't selling to minors. The first round, 23 percent of the businesses failed. By the third round, six percent failed. In 2015, in the first round, one fifth of those checked, sold without checking. By the third round, that number decreased to four percent.
"I'm happy they improve. Ten percent failure rate all the time is the goal. The national average failure rate is 20-25 percent," said Bradford.
He said that training staff is key. Businesses that sell liquor tend to have a large employee turnover rate.
The liquor selling business in Cecil County is undergoing a transitional time.
There are currently 54 liquor licenses available throughout the county. And for every license that is not active, that means the county is losing money. It costs $400 to apply for a liquor license. There is a one time fee of $3,000 for beer, wine, and liquor sales. Annually, the fee is $750 per establishment and an additional $500 per year for Sunday sales.
Liquor licenses are granted according to population by election district. One license is granted per 400 registered voters. Of the licenses currently available, all are north of the C&D Canal. There are none available in Cecilton and two are currently grandfathered in. Chesapeake City has none available. There are 15 licenses available in Elkton, five in Fair Hill, 14 in North East, four in Rising Sun, six in Port Deposit/Perryville, two in Conowingo, and eight in Calvert.
Back in 2009, Cecil had an all time high licenses issued with 160. There are currently 142 granted.