Cincy bar owners concerned as alcohol curfew takes effect

Liquor sales must end by 10 p.m. at restaurants, bars

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The hits keep on coming for bars in Ohio.

Several Cincinnati bar owners say they fear for their businesses’ survival after the Ohio Liquor Commission voted Friday to halt the sale of alcohol at bars and restaurants after 10 p.m.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s executive order can be read in full here.

Under the order, patrons can order drinks before 10 p.m. and still continue to drink until 11 p.m.

Also, businesses that sell carryout alcohol with meals to-go can continue to do so.

But the bar owners with whom FOX19 NOW spoke Friday say the order is going to be a considerable blow.

10 p.m. alcohol sales ban in effect at Ohio restaurants, bars

The owners of Homemakers Bar on 13th Street in Over-The-Rhine say the majority of their sales normally take place after 10 p.m., especially in the summer.

“We’re going to try our very best to survive,” said Homemakers co-owner Julia Petiplin, whose bar is in the first year of its existence, “but these are the things that are working against us, and closing at 10 just takes so much of our sales away.”

Homemakers co-owner Catherine Nanapat is still holding out hope things can change.

“I would compel the governor and the liquor commission to rethink this, to listen to us, to actually have a conversation with us and to see where we can meet in the middle,” she said.

Christian Gill, executive chef and owner of Boomtown Biscuits and Whiskey in Pendleton, is more pessimistic.

“I think it’s going to kill the bar industry and it’s going to severely hurt those restaurants that are trying to stay open until 10, 11 o’clock,” Gill told FOX19 NOW Friday afternoon.

“Any time [DeWine] says he’s going to talk about restaurants and bars, it then creates this side effect of, people don’t come out the next couple of days because they’re afraid, they remember, ‘Oh, maybe restaurants and bars aren’t clean,’ when in fact we are very clean.”

Gill’s chief concern is about lost revenue.

“A lot of us aren’t going to survive,” he said.

Still, not all believe the order’s effects on their bars will be as severe.

“I really have to say, I was sort of pleased, because I thought [DeWine] was going to close bars, so to me it was almost like, okay, not bad,” Mt. Adams Bar and Grill Owner Pat Sheppard said.

Sheppard explained the order could ultimately help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“Some bars are particularly geared towards younger crowds,” he said. “We’re getting too crowded, and there’s no way to pick one bar that it absolutely works and another bar it doesn’t. You either have to do it and we all live with it, or you don’t, in which case it’s going nowhere.”

As for enforcement, Mayor John Cranley said Friday Ohio Liquor Commission officials could be out enforcing the order. DeWine said the same when he announced the order Thursday.

Cincinnati police also say they will be documenting businesses who fail to comply and that violations could result in action against a business’s liquor license.

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