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Restaurant Owner Bans Children Under Six: Where Do We Draw the Line on Bans?

2 comments

Looks like something is brewing in my hometown of Pittsburgh: Mike Vuick, owner of McDain’s Restaurant in Monroeville, PA recently announced that children under the age of six won’t be allowed in the casual eatery any longer. After receiving complaints from customers about crying children at nearby tables, Vuick decided to institute the policy, which will take effect on July 16.

In an email to his customers, Vuick explained:

We feel that McDain’s is not a place for young children. Their volume can’t be controlled and many, many times, they have disturbed other customers.

In addition, Vuick recently spoke with a local TV station and stated that he had nothing against children, but that their endless screaming at dinner tables is "the height of being impolite and selfish". In a somewhat less emboldened move, Brenda Armes, the owner of North Carolina’s Olde Salty Restaurant posted a sign in her window stating that "screaming children will not be tolerated" but did not go so far as to ban children altogether from the eatery. Armes claims that the new rule has boosted business, and Vuick believes that his altogether ban on children will accomplish much of the same.

However, some residents of Monroeville think the ban is outrageous and feel they are being singled out for having young kids. They ask, what about all the noisy adults at the bar? Is Vuick going to kick them out, too?

There have been bans against smoking or even excessive perfume, and obviously there are dress requirements for certain places. But where do we draw the line on bans and what criteria can we use or not use when instituting such bans?

The government cannot discriminate based on race, alienage, or nationality when it comes to allowing people access to government property and services. Those are called "protected classes" of the highest order. There are also strong prohibitions against discrimination based on Sex and Religion, among other groups. Many statutes enacted by Congress and other state legislatures extend this not only to government action, but also to the action of private citizens and entities (like restaurants). Are we going to need to define babies as a protected class so families can make sure they are able to eat at restaurants?

2 Comments

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  1. Darlene says:
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    If I can find a restaurant in my area that bans children of ANY age, they will get ALL my business!

  2. Dennis says:
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    I love kids and have three GKs aged 5, 4 & 1. I would NEVER take these kids into a restaurant, or to Mass. Adults and older children go out to eat and to public places to enjoy themselves, not be bothered by children who I’m sure are lovely from time to time, but in public decide to go nuts, with their parents just ignoring them or acting like the kids don’t belong to them. This phenomena started about a decade or so ago when the “me” generation decided they could do whatever they want in public and the rest of us be damned. Also since to slap or repremand a kid in public might bring the thought police, or worse, down on you for actually trying to control your child in public, people don’t even try. I would love to go to any place that advertised “no kids 6 and under” and I wish the airlines had a separate section for these brats, whose parents allow them to scream and wail incessantly, or even worse, climb over the back of seats, kick the seats and otherwise make the flight for others, which is already a horrible experience from the arrival at the airport, to be even worse. Kudos to this restaurant – I am certain their business will go up dramatically.