Judge denies request to block 10 p.m. ‘last call’ rule in Ohio bars and restaurants

Coronavirus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A Franklin County judge denied a request for a temporary restraining order against an order forcing bars and restaurants to stop selling alcohol at 10 p.m.

A lawsuit was filed Tuesday by a group of restaurants that previously sued the City of Columbus over a 10 p.m. closing order.

The lawsuit sought a temporary restraining order against enforcement of Ohio’s 10 p.m. ‘last call’ rule by Governor Mike DeWine, the Ohio Department of Public Safety, and the Ohio Liquor Control Commission.

Ed Hastie, the attorney for the bars and restaurants, argued the law is discriminatory and picks on a small section of an industry.

He also argued most bars and restaurants are already following the directives set forth by the state in the Dine Safe Ohio order

“I don’t believe there’s been any science or evidence presented that suggests that COVID, the coronavirus, spreads more after a certain amount of time,” he said.

The attorney for the state argued the emergency rule was imperative to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“The risk to the public is, if we don’t adopt measures designed to minimize that spread, we will have to retreat back to where we were in March,” said Marion Little. “No one, particularly Governor DeWine, wants that to occur.”

Judge Kim Brown denied that temporary restraining order in a ruling Wednesday afternoon.

“The court notes that courts across the country have rejected similar challenges to the COVID-19 limitations on business activities and gatherings including denying temporary restraining orders on behalf of bridal shops, firearm retailers, gyms, business owners and political candidates, campgrounds, adventure parks, challenges to curfews imposed on nonessential businesses, antique stores and even health orders closing bars and limited service restaurants,” she said when rendering her opinion.

The following bars and restaurants have signed onto the lawsuit:

  • Pins Mechanical Co.
  • 16 Bit Bar + Arcade
  • Late Night Slice
  • Odfellows
  • Threes Above High
  • Pastimes Pub & Grill
  • Quarry Co. Bar and Grill
  • Zeno’s
  • Oldfield’s
  • Leo’s on the Alley

Hastie told NBC4 that he and his team are weighing their options on how to proceed with the lawsuit.

A spokesperson for DeWine said the governor’s office is pleased with Judge Brown’s ruling and will continue to respond to the litigation in court.

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