The Ohio Liquor Control Commission adopted a rule banning restaurants and bars in Ohio from serving alcohol after 10 p.m. Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) says this rule can help stem the spread of COVID-19. But restaurant and bar owners believe they're being unfairly targeted.
Opponents to the alcohol sales curfew argued that the state already has mechanisms in place to regulate the bars and restaurants that are not following Ohio's coronavirus-related policies, such as social distancing.
Alicia Zambelli is an attorney with Isaac Wiles representing several restaurants and bars. She says establishments have already been working hard to follow the existing rules.
"The vast majority of operators are adhering to those requirements and to punish all for the acts of a few would be very unfair," Zambelli says.
Ohio Liquor Control Commission approves the adoption of a rule to ban the sale of liquor at bars/restaurants after 10pm...here's the rule language pic.twitter.com/DJvt4U4WgL— Andy Chow (@andy_chow) July 31, 2020
But DeWine's spokesperson says outbreaks of the virus have been traced back to restaurants and bars, and says the 10 p.m. ban is trying to target certain behavior of people getting out of their seats to intermingle. Critics have said specific data proving those outbreaks have not been provided.
Under the rule, alcohol cannot be sold after 10 p.m. and patrons have until 11 p.m. to finish any drinks they bought before the cut off. The restaurants are allowed to provide up to three drinks via carry-out orders.