Judge blocks Columbus ordinance forcing 10 p.m. bar and restaurant closure

Local News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A Franklin County judge has granted a temporary restraining order against the enforcement of an ordinance forcing Columbus bars and restaurants to close at 10 p.m.

Judge Mark Serrott granted the restraining order requested by several bars, including Pins Mechanical Co., 16-Bit Bar + Arcade, Mikey’s Late Night Slice, Odfellows, and more.

The case will come up for a full hearing in 14 days.

The order takes effect immediately, so long as a $1,000 bond is paid by the plaintiffs. Judge Serrott said the situation could change if the state passes its own restrictions on bars and restaurants.

Columbus City Council passed the ordinance Monday night at the request of Mayor Andrew Ginther and Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the city.

Governor DeWine applauded the passage of the ordinance Tuesday, and said more could be announced on bars and restaurants Thursday.

“We know it’s critically important to take these tough additional steps to slow the spread in our community. By closing them at 10 p.m. we limit the amount of time people will spend together without masks,” Ginther said at a press conference Monday before the city council vote.

Many members of the public spoke out against the legislation at Monday night’s meeting.

“We certainly do know that there are some very small number of operators out there who may not be following the Dine Safe Ohio order and we have been strong advocates, we’ve worked really closely with the local health departments and with the Ohio Investigative Unit, we talk to them every week, and there will begin to be liquor control commission hearing and other enforcement against those and we are seeing fewer of those operators who were violating the Dine Safe Ohio order,” said Ohio Restaurant Association Managing Director Tod Bowen.

Jane Abell, owner of Donatos Pizza, urged council to reconsider the ordinance, not for her business specifically, but as a representative of restaurant associates across the city.

“I believe the mandates that you have put in place will work if we all commit to follow them,” Abell said. “We have continued to operate as an essential business as outlined by the governor. Feeding people is an important part of what we do every day… By maintaining employment for people, we are helping people make their mortgage payments, their car payments, and put food on the table for their families.”

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