COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) – The Ohio Liquor Control Commission has approved Governor Mike DeWine’s proposal to institute a statewide last call on alcohol sales at 10 p.m.
The vote happened Friday morning.
All three members of the commission voted in favor of the motion.
The emergency rule includes any business that serves alcohol but will primarily impact bars and restaurants.
Several members of the food and beverage industry including business owners of bars and restaurants in Cincinnati, Columbus and Northeast Ohio called into the virtual meeting.
Each one said the rule would have a devastating impact on an already difficult time and potentially force them to lay off more staff.
Gov. DeWine says the move was made as a direct result of businesses and patrons that aren’t following health and safety guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus, citing outbreaks associated with bars in Cleveland, Columbus, and Toledo.
“Just last week, our Ohio Investigative Unit found bars where no social distancing safety measures were in place. Patrons were packed on outside patio and dance floors full of people shoulder to shoulder,” DeWine said.
“There is, however, kind of an inherent problem connecting with bars. They do lend themselves to people going and going in and out in close contact with each other many, many times indoors. Patrons either stay at one location some time for a long time, or they go from bar to bar. Either way, they’re interacting with a lot of different people,” DeWine said.
The proposal institutes a 10 p.m. last call and includes that drinks need to be finished by 11 p.m.
The new rule expands to-go alcohol sales. Three drinks (instead of two) are now allowed to be sold per food order for off-site consumption.
“We do not want to shut down Ohio bars and restaurants. That would be devastating to them. But we do have to take some action and see what kind of kind of results we get from this action,” he said.
DeWine said he would release specific data on bars and restaurants Tuesday at his 2 p.m. press conference.
The new measure goes into effect Friday, July 31 at 10 p.m.
There were 1,733 new cases, with 89,626 cases statewide.