DeWine asks liquor control to enact emergency rule for early last call amid pandemic

Coronavirus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — Governor Mike DeWine is asking the Ohio Liquor Control Commission to enact an emergency ruling related to liquor sales in bars and restaurants.

The governor announced his proposal during his Thursday afternoon news briefing. He said he continues to have concerns about Ohio’s bars, as the state has seen numerous coronavirus outbreaks related to these establishments.

He says most restaurants and bars are doing a great job following orders established by the Ohio Department of Health, however, several bars and restaurants were recently cited for violating coronavirus health orders.

“I continue to have grave concerns about the spread of coronavirus at establishments that serve alcohol for onsite consumption. We have seen outbreaks associated with bars across Ohio including Toledo, Cleveland, and Columbus,” the governor said. “The problem is, bars, by their nature, lend themselves to a revolving door of people in close contact, oftentimes indoors. Patrons either stay at one location, sometimes for hours or bar hop. Either way, they interact with many different people – especially the younger crowd.”

DeWine says he does not want to shut down Ohio bars and restaurants, but state leaders do need to take some action. In response, he has requested the Ohio Liquor Control Commission to call a meeting and consider enacting an emergency rule related to liquor sales.

The proposed emergency rule would require all liquor-permitted establishments to stop selling alcohol at 10 p.m. daily. All alcohol consumption must also be completed by 11 p.m.

The proposal includes restaurants that serve alcohol but will allow any liquor-permitted establishment that sells food to continue serving meals until closing.

DeWine is also requesting that the Ohio Liquor Control Commission raise the number of liquor and mixed drinks that can be purchased with a meal to-go from 2 to 3.

“I am mindful of the economic impact of these tough circumstances, but we must slow the spread of COVID-19,” DeWine said.

The commission will hold their emergency meeting Friday at 9 a.m. If the emergency statewide administrative rule is approved, DeWine intends to sign an Executive Order that would make it effective Friday night at 10 o’clock.

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