First weekend of new bar rule leaves some businesses in hot water


(WKBN) – The first weekend with Ohio’s new alcohol rule is over and the result has been mixed.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed an order Friday saying that all bars and restaurants have to stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m. to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

The thinking is that people won’t congregate where they can’t drink. DeWine blamed much of the increase in Ohio’s coronavirus numbers on bars and large gatherings.

We haven’t heard of any violations in the Youngstown area yet, but there were some in Cleveland over the weekend.

The Captivate Potato Bar in Cleveland had almost a speak easy atmosphere where employees were trying to get guests out of the business before police arrived.

Some other bars that were cited were given a warning before hand from police but continued to stay open against the order. In some cases, serving alcohol up to 2 a.m.

“Just the fact that they are going after hours and also that they were not taking steps to enforce the social distancing and try to limit the spread of COVID-19,” said Eric Wolf, OIU enforcement commander with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Some bar owners don’t think the alcohol order will keep people from gathering. They doubt that young people will go home but will instead just gather somewhere else or at private parties where health safety precautions won’t be happening at all.

“The majority of people are coming out from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and those people are going to find something else to do. That’s a concern as well. At least when they’re coming to a business like ours, we are making them wear a mask, making them stay in their sections and being really strict on the rules,” said Danny Scott, bar owner. “These same young people are going to probably be at house parties, They are probably going to be in a parking lot somewhere. They are not just going to go home at 10 p.m. and go, ‘Let’s call it a night.'”

The cases of four Cleveland-area establishments that were cited over the weekend will go before the Ohio Liquor Control Commission where they could face fines, suspension or lose their liquor license altogether.

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