AUGUSTA — Maine 14-year-olds can bus tables at restaurants that serve liquor as the state’s liquor bureau moves ahead with a rule change.

The state Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations says the rule change addresses the state’s labor shortage in the tourism and service industries.

The bureau said it’s already allowing the practice even though the rule doesn’t officially take effect until Aug. 1. That means 14-year-olds can begin bussing tables as long as they have work permits.

The bureau says several states already allow 14-year-olds to do so.

Maine will continue allowing 15-year-olds to stock inventory or bus tables. Anyone under 15 can’t sell, serve or mix liquor.

The bureau does not plan a public hearing on the proposal but it’s accepting public comments until July 20.

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