by J.D. Davidson
Ohio restaurant and bar owners will have more flexibility and a chance to generate more revenue if Gov. Mike DeWine signs a recently passed bill into law.
The Business Expansion and Safety Act, passed by both the Ohio House and Ohio Senate, heads to DeWine. It intends to help bring revenue and safety back to businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to bill sponsor State Rep. D.J. Swearingen, R-Huron.
“Businesses have been restricted for so long now due to the threat of COVID-19 and it’s time we give them the opportunities to draw in some much-needed revenue while simultaneously ensuring the safety of Ohioans,” Swearingen said.
The bill allows permit holders to use more outside space on private or public property with approval from local governments and makes permanent the ability to serve carry-out drinks. Also, it allows third-party delivery for carryout alcohol.
The Ohio Senate added a meal must be sold with alcoholic-to-go beverages and only three drinks per meal are allowed.
The Ohio Restaurant Association, Ohio Licensed Beverage Association, the Greater Ohio Policy Center and The Buckeye Institute all support the bill, which was originally introduced in May.
“I am very pleased to see this crucial bill going to the governor,” Swearingen said. “We can’t forget our restaurants and other businesses as they are desperately looking to bounce back from the damage COVID-19 has caused throughout the state.”
The bill continues an emergency clause and becomes effective immediately once signed by DeWine.
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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. Davison is a regional editor for The Center Square.