Ignoring the ODH Order: A Warning for Bar + Restaurant Owners

On March 15, 2020, the Ohio Department of Health (“ODH”) issued a statewide order restricting all beer, wine and liquor sales only to carry-out and delivery, where permitted, by liquor permit holders (“Licensed Operators”).

Since then, there have been daring and ill-advised attempts in which misguided Licensed Operators have attempted to continue to operate under limited hours or have completely ignored the order from ODH.

In these circumstances and pursuant to state law (primarily ORC 3767 and ORC 715.261), cities and other municipal corporations can:

  • Padlock and barricade your physical premises;
  • Seek revocation of your food licenses and liquor permits;
  • Seek to institute legal action, which may result in:
    • closure of the business for up to one year;
    • seizure and sale of your property; and
    • potential voting of your location as “dry,” rendering it forever unable to sell liquor.

These consequences are no longer theoretical and municipalities have begun taking aggressive action to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Bars, restaurants and other Licensed Operators are advised to comply with all ODH orders and State of Ohio mandates related to the operation of their establishments.

And if you’re looking for other strategies on running your business during the pandemic as a Licensed Operator, you can check out our previous article on “Four Recommendations for Businesses Considering the Delivery Option for Beer, Liquor + Wine.”

As we have since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in Ohio, our team will continue to advise you on the various ways to navigate these uncertain times. These archived updates are conveniently found in the Kegler Brown COVID-19 Resource Center, which will be continually updated with future developments.