COLUMBUS (WCMH)– For bar owners in Columbus, Gov. Mike DeWine’s 10 p.m. last call proposal is the second effort in a week to put limitations on bars and restaurants. Earlier this week, Columbus City Council approved an ordinance, advanced by Mayor Andrew Ginther, that would have required bars and restaurants in Columbus to close by 10 p.m. It was temporarily blocked by a Franklin County judge.
“I really just feel like bars and restaurants are getting a weird bad rap here,” said Collin Castore, Co-Founder of Seventh Son Brewing.
He says Seventh Son along with most other establishments have been following the health orders. Gov. DeWine also says most are playing by the rules, but a handful are not. He said coronavirus outbreaks have been linked to bars in several Ohio cities when announcing his 10 p.m. last call proposal.
“We believe stopping the sales at 10:00 is going to help. We think it will help. It will thin that crowd out and help slow the spread,” said Gov. DeWine.
The Liquor Control Commission is expected to meet Friday morning to vote on the emergency rule. If approved, it would bring last call to 10. pm. and require drinks to be finished by 11 p.m. Establishments would be allowed to continue to serve food as long as they decide to stay open.
“We don’t like to see any restriction on business like this, but compared to what we’ve seen in some other places and what the city [Columbus] was talking about, this is significantly different, said John Barker, President and CEO of the Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA).
Attorney Edward Hastie represents dozens of bars in central Ohio. He challenged Columbus’ ordinance in court and said he will also challenge the governor’s last call proposal if the Liquor Control Commission passes it.
“To the bar and restaurant owners out there that are disturbed and troubled by this, we do plan on putting up a fight,” said Hastie. “We’ve all got to do what we can to curb the spread of COVID-19. It’s unbelievable to believe that a law that shuts down one small segment of society at 10 p.m. is going to have any difference.”