MAHONING CO., Ohio (WKBN) – A new proposal to slow the spread of COVID-19 would call for all establishments in Ohio state-licensed to serve alcohol to stop alcohol service at 10 p.m.
It would, however, allow customers to continue drinking until 11 p.m. if the drinks were ordered before 10 p.m.
Gov. Mike DeWine proposed the new alcohol restriction during his 2 p.m. briefing on the coronavirus in Ohio. He’s hoping the state liquor control board will enact this as early as Friday night.
John Rudy, with Magic Tree Pub & Eatery in Boardman, said the potential restriction is actually better news than they were expecting.
Magic Tree closes at 10 p.m. most days and at 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays so the change wouldn’t affect his current business too much.
“Things seem to change daily,” Rudy said. “The sign changes, the rule changes, everything like that changes so it’s literally going to be day-by-day, we’re following everything we can as the county health department wants and the state wants. So we’re just following the rules and doing what we can. Anything that is in my control, I can control. Anything that I can’t, I just wait on it.”
Rudy changed his hours before reopening Magic Tree, which used to be open until 1 a.m. on the weekends. He said his decision to close earlier ahead of this new proposal worked in his favor.
For some area bars, the possibility of DeWine’s new restriction could hurt business.
East Side Civics in Youngstown is typically open until 1 a.m. If this proposal goes through, it would have to stop alcohol sales three hours before it typically does.
Manager Lori Greenwalt said this restriction could change how they have to do business for the time being.
“We’ll conform and we have to do it, and I just hope that we get business earlier. I may open earlier and do breakfast. It’s going to affect us, but it’s not going to affect us as bad as it would have before the shutdown.”
Greenwalt said the community has been a great support for them over the past several months.
Along with the possibility of offering breakfast, East Side Civics plans to come up with more creative ways to keep business going if the proposal is enacted.
The Ohio Liquor Control Board will have an emergency meeting Friday and DeWine said if it approves the proposal, he could have it signed and enforced by that night.
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