DeWine announces expanding liquor licenses to include parking lots and sidewalks

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Restaurants and bars may soon be able to serve drinks outside of their establishments.

The Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control has been working with local jurisdictions to allow restaurants and bars to extend their liquor licenses to include outdoor areas such as parking lots and sidewalks adjacent to the restaurants, Gov. Mike DeWine said during a coronavirus briefing at the statehouse Thursday.

“The purpose of bringing this up is the more we learn, we know that outside is better than inside,” DeWine said. “In fact, we know outside is a lot better than inside.”

The more bars and restaurants are able to spread out and keep social distance, it is a good thing, the governor added.

“We encourage owners to continue to work with us, with the state, and with their local governments to come up with creative ways to expand their outdoor seating capacities so that everyone can be safe and stay socially distanced, and that means being seated,” DeWine said.

So far, more than 300 expansion requests have been granted.

The governor admonished those establishments that are not following the guidelines set forth by the state during the reopening in May.

“I have seen many of the pictures that are circulating and they certainly are very disturbing,” DeWine said. “I would simply say that the vast majority of bar owners are doing a good job, but we have some that are not, and we will be cracking down on those individuals.”

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