DeWine Advocates Order to Cease Alcohol Sales After 10 p.m.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Gov. Mike DeWine said today that he’s requested that the Ohio Liquor Control Commission issue a statewide emergency rule that requires bars and restaurants to cease selling alcohol after 10 p.m.

He said the spread of the coronavirus is most acute in bars and restaurants because of close interaction between patrons, and the rule is meant to curb the infection rate. State health officials, he noted, have observed several places with packed patios and crowded areas that likely accelerate spread of the virus.

“We think stopping sales at 10 will help,” the governor said during his coronavirus briefing. The rule would affect any establishment that serves alcohol.

Anyone who had ordered alcohol before 10 p.m. would have until 11 p.m. to finish the drinks at the establishment, he added.  Takeout orders for food that would normally include two alcoholic beverages would be expanded to three drinks under the new rule.

DeWine said he would sign an executive order Friday after the commission meets at 9 a.m. and make it effective that evening.

“We do not want to shut down Ohio bars and restaurants, but we do have to take some action,” the governor said. “I’m mindful of the economic impact, but we have to slow it down across the state of Ohio.”

He added that Ohio has set a new one-day record for cornavirus cases, noting that 1,733 cases have been reported over the last 24 hours. Of the 10 highest numbers of daily cases in Ohio, nine were within the last three weeks. 

“A shocking number. That’s certainly not good news,” he said. 

However, the number of those counties throughout Ohio that register a “red” status – that is a county reporting 100 cases or more per 100,000 people – numbered at 13 compared with 23 a week earlier.

Still, the governor added that the virus is now spreading more rapidly in some of the rural areas of the state. 

“This virus is just vicious,” he said. “It doesn’t care who you are.”

DeWine also said the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy has complied with his request earlier today that it halt a proposed rule that bans the use of hydroxychlorquine as a means to treat COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. 

“I agree with the statement from Dr. Steven Hahn, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, that the decision about prescribing hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 should be between a doctor and a patient,” DeWine said in a statement issued earlier.  

DeWine said during the briefing that he did not have a position on the drug, but did think the process in advocating a ban was “flawed.” He noted that there should be additional examination of the science

Hyrdroxychloroquine is a drug that is typically used to treat symptoms related to malaria, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It is also used to treat conditions such a lupus and other autoimmune illnesses. 

President Donald Trump has endorsed the drug as an effective remedy for COVID-19 despite scientific evidence to the contrary. 

DeWine said the Board of Pharmacy’s proposal failed to consider all of the medical advice and didn’t leave enough room for additional commentary about the drug. 

Instead, the matter should have had a “full hearing and sought out additional medical advice,” he said.  

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.