I-TEAM: Businesses file lawsuit against Ohio officials for not being allowed to operate

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PAINESVILLE, Ohio (WJW) – A 91-year-old business facing huge financial losses is among several others that have filed a lawsuit in Lake County Common Pleas Court against state officials due to the COVID-19 ban that is keeping pinball and video arcade games shut down.

“Like so many small businesses in this economy, we are really, really struggling,” said Andy Shaffer, president of Shaffer Entertainment in Columbus. 

He said the family-owned business was started in 1929. He said he didn’t want to have to go to court but felt it was the only way he would be able to once again open his business.

“It’s really not fair,” Shaffer told Fox 8 Wednesday. “I went to one of my best customer’s bars last week. I looked over to my left and saw my pool tables, my dart boards, and my video games literally roped off almost with police tape turned off and then I looked over to my right and I saw not one person but two people each playing a Keno and a state-owned lottery machine.”

Bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen for indoor dining last week. Ohio’s orders, however, still ban games such as pinball.

The orders from the state are designed to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

For continuing coverage about the coronavirus pandemic, including the latest on Ohio, head here.

State officials declined to comment on the lawsuit saying they do not discuss pending litigation.

Akron attorney Orville Reed III, who is representing the businesses, says the order is financially devastating to the companies, and not fair since the state lottery machines are still operating. The lawsuit he filed is seeking an injunction, which would allow the companies to once again operate their games.

No hearing date has been set, yet.

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