Bar owner sets 11 p.m. closing time after receiving citation

Coronavirus

PARK LAYNE, Ohio (WDTN) – A Clark County bar owner says he plans to close his business by 11 p.m. each night after the bar was issued an administrative citation for selling alcohol after the state’s 10 p.m. curfew.

According to the Ohio Investigative Unit, The Layne Lounge was cited Saturday night after agents were able to purchase beer at 10:45 p.m. and again at 11:15 p.m.

Officials moved up last call for alcohol sales to 10 p.m. to lessen overcrowding in bars.

“It’s frustrating knowing that all the other things that are going on, and it seems as if bars are the easy targets,” Donald McKee, the owner, told 2 NEWS after his bar reopened Monday evening.

McKee told 2 NEWS he believes the mandated 10 p.m. last call for alcohol sales is unfair. But he never encouraged or allowed his employees at The Layne Lounge to serve alcohol past 10 p.m., he said.

McKee said he was not working at the bar Saturday night, so he is not sure why his workers may have served alcohol after 10 p.m.

“What I think is happening is just that they got busy and lost track of time,” McKee said.

According to the Ohio Investigative Unit, a complaint from a member of the public brought agents to The Layne Lounge.

Investigators visited 300 locations across the state this past weekend, issuing 10 citations and six warnings, said Eric Wolf, enforcement commander.

“Most locations are abiding by the rules,” Wolf said. “Most locations are doing everything they can to provide a safe environment.”

McKee told 2 NEWS his bar used to shut down once all the customers went home. Now he plans to close the business by 11 p.m. each night.

“We just got to let everybody know that we’re just going to try to obviously be more timely with what we’re doing here,” he said.

McKee said he has spoken with his staff about this issue but does not plan to take any disciplinary action against any of the employees who were working Saturday night.

The Ohio Liquor Control Commission will hold a hearing in a few weeks to decide if a violation was made and if the bar should face any penalties, Wolf said.


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