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Ohio bill aims to end the state's alcohol curfew to help businesses rebound

Posted at 10:38 AM, Oct 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-15 06:08:38-04

CLEVELAND — According to the Ohio Restaurant Association, one out of every six restaurants are temporarily closed or planning to shut down for good.

“That would be 3,800 locations that would be closed in Ohio and importantly, it's 153,000 jobs. And so that's why we're so concerned, Ohio Restaurant Association President and CEO John Barker said.

Barker says Ohio’s alcohol curfew isn’t helping.

“They're losing a very profitable part of their business that they used to have and they just can't make it without those hours,” Barker said. “The capacity limitation, of course, is the most important because most of our restaurants and businesses are only operating at maybe 50 to 75% of their physical capacity. So that puts a big pressure point on restaurants.”

In a press release from Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, he states 32 restaurant owners recently signed a petition pushing for the state to let up on the ban prohibiting alcohol sales to end at 10 p.m. and forcing bars and restaurants to close at 11 p.m. Obhof announced plans to introduce a bill to repeal the state’s order.

"I would like to see the governor repeal the order or modify it substantially," Obhof said. "If he did that, it may alleviate the need for the legislation. Frankly, I had expected the order to be repealed by now. We will introduce the bill, give it the legislative process and by the time we get through that process, we will see whether it's still necessary.”

Obhof says the ban contradicts a state law, Ohio Revised Code 4303, which is already in place. That law regulates liquor permits and lays out dates and times for when alcohol can be sold.

Obhof says the bill will have at least a dozen co-sponsors once it's introduced to the Senate.

However, Gov. Mike DeWine says changing the state order has to make sense and provide protection over Ohioan's health and the state's economy.

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