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Coronavirus In Ohio: Judge Upholds State Ban On Late-Night Alcohol Sales

flight of beer in glasses

A Franklin County judge denied a request from a group of Columbus bars and restaurants to block a temporary state ban on liquor sales after 10 p.m.

Last week, Gov. Mike DeWine urged the Ohio Liquor Control Commission to pass emergency rules that would put a 10 p.m. curfew on liquor sales in bars, restaurants and night clubs. It would also force them to close by 11 p.m. Those rules took effect July 31 but can only remain in place for 120 days.

The lawsuit challenging the rules was filed by a number of Columbus bars and restaurants, including Pins Mechanical Co., 16 Bit Bar + Arcade, Oddfellows Liquor Bar and Late Night Slice. It names DeWine, the Ohio Liquor Control Commission and the Ohio Department of Public Safety as defendants.

Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Kim Brown declined to issue a temporary restraining order at a hearing Wednesday.

After Columbus City Council approved an ordinance closing bars and restaurants at 10 p.m., the businesses on July 28 won a 14-day temporary restraining order halting the rules from taking effect.

DeWine said that most bars are following health guidelines, but he singled out some establishments around the state that investigators found were not practicing social distancing and had dancing in close quarters.

Five bars in northeast Ohio were cited in the first weekend of the state’s new order.