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Ohio House Passes Bill Allowing Bars To Close At 4 A.M.

A bill that would allow bars and restaurants to use parking lots, green space and streets for social distancing for customers is now being considered by the Ohio Senate. 

But there's a provision that didn't get much attention till it was on the floor - a plan to extend the hours bars can stay open. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler reports.



The Ohio Mayors Alliance supports the idea of expanded outdoor space for bars and restaurants. But spokesperson Keary McCarthy says his members are concerned about keeping people apart under a provision that would allow bars to stay open till 4am – in most cases, about two hours later.

“That is only going to be harder the later it gets into the evening, to maintain good public health practices and social distancing.”

Representatives who voted against the bill say they’re also worried about the impact of later last call on police. But supporters say not all bars will apply for the 4am permit, and local governments could refuse those applications. The bill also allows liquor sales on Sunday, and could cost the state nearly 5.9 million dollars in fees by eliminating 12,5000 Sunday sales permits.  

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