AUSTIN – Agents from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will be in liquor stores, bars, beaches and other locations where alcohol is sold, throughout March, as the agency kicks off its annual spring break public safety operations next week.

The operations identify locations where alcohol is sold to minors in violation of state law. Planned activities for 2020 include underage compliance operations, in which TABC agents accompany a minor who attempts to buy alcohol, as well as increased patrols at popular spring break locations such as South Padre Island and Austin's SXSW music festival.

"A single alcohol-related death during spring break is one too many. That's why our agents will be out in force throughout March to identify locations selling alcohol to minors," said TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles. "TABC's goal is to ensure alcohol retailers are doing their part to keep Texas roads and businesses safe."

Prior to the operations, TABC auditors will visit several of the alcohol retailers in the most popular spring break destinations to provide training and answer questions about best practices related to preventing the sale of alcohol to minors.

"This operation is not intended to penalize retailers who are doing their best to operate during an extremely busy period," Nettles said. "Our goal is to ensure business owners have the tools they need to successfully operate while keeping Texans safe."

Businesses which sell alcohol to persons under 21 could face a civil fine or suspension of their license to sell alcohol. Employees who conduct the sale could also find themselves charged with a Class A misdemeanor punishable by an up to $4,000 fine and up to one year in jail.

During last year's spring break operations, TABC agents conducted 1,726 underage compliance operations, finding 132 violations. This amounts to a more than 93 percent compliance rate, which is above the statewide year-round average of 89 percent.