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Bars Could Lose Liquor License And Patrons Face Penalties For Violating Virus Guidelines

May 18, 2020

Standard Hall in Columbus' Short North in 2019, before safe distance and other public health precautions were ordered by the state.
Credit TripAdvisor.com

Bars and restaurants that fail to observe safe distancing and other anti-coronavirus measures could lose their liquor license.  

Outdoor dining reopened this weekend in Ohio, and Governor Mike DeWine says the majority of businesses followed the guidelines laid out by a task force of industry and public health experts.  But those who don't face more than social media backlash.

Dewine says local law enforcement and state and local public health officials are being added to the Department of Public Safty's Ohio Investigative Unit to do safty compliance checks at bars and restaurants. 

"They will issue administrative citations that can result in the revocation of liquor licenses.  Further, they will work with municipal prosecutors to take potential criminal action against these bad actors."

DeWine says businesses that cannot provide safe conditions should not reopen, and should close if conditions deteriorate.  But he says he's not ruling out the possibility of legal actions against patrons who violate a businesses health and safty standards.

Columbus Public Health issued warnings to eight bars and restaurants over the weekend for violating the state orders.  The owner of one of those bars, Standard Hall in the Short North, says he took all the appropriate precautions, and felt unfairly singled out by health officials.