Dayton bars react to judge’s denial of request to overturn Ohio’s liquor curfew

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The 10 p.m. “last call” for Ohio bars and restaurants will stay in effect.

Tuesday, a Franklin County judge denied the request from a group of Columbus area business owners for a temporary restraining order to overturn the curfew.

Two bars in Dayton, the Right Corner and the Dublin Pub, said they understand social distancing could become harder to enforce as alcohol consumption goes up during the night but feel this is punishing those who do closely follow the rules.

Under Judge Kim Brown’s ruling, which applies statewide, last call will continue at 10 p.m. and patrons have to finish those alcoholic drinks by 11.

“The general rule is the harm is not irreparable,” said Brown. “However the court finds even if there were irreparable harm here, the court has to balance that with the potential harm to others and the public interest.”

Dana Thompson, the bar manager at The Right Corner in Dayton, said they’ve been fortunate that the majority of their business is earlier in the day.

Thompson said he appreciates Governor Mike DeWine’s efforts but hopes DeWine comes up with a better solution to slow the curve.

“Coronavirus doesn’t have a time frame,” said Thompson. “If you’re out during the day at grocery stores and any other mega stores, they have crowds of people without masks. It doesn’t make any sense that only after 10 p.m. is when coronavirus is a problem, I don’t understand that.”

Steve Tieber, the co-owner of the Dublin Pub, said many chain restaurants already had a 10 or 11 p.m. cutoff but this ruling is going to kill locally owned small businesses.

“Here in the Oregon District there are businesses that are completely shut down right now because that is where they get the bulk of their business after 9 or 10,” said Tieber.

Tieber said since the curfew took effect last Friday they’ve started selling liter beers at Dublin Pub and bringing back live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

“We’re just trying to increase our revenue potential even a little bit because we’re losing so much after 10,” said Tieber.

Both Tieber and Thompson say they understand the reasoning behind the curfew as it relates to social distancing, but said most bars follow the rules and should not be punished for those that don’t.

“If they go in and the crowds are abundant and not doing social distancing, shut them down, do whatever needs to be done,” said Thompson. “But we have bars around the corner that are being beaten down by the coronavirus, and we are being affected by all the construction downtown with no sidewalks, no parking, and now we can’t be open past 10? Ouch.”

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