Blessing Announces Bills Providing Needed Flexibility to Ohio's Restaurants, Bars and Wineries Signed by Governor
COLUMBUS—State Senator Louis W. Blessing III (R-Colerain Township) announced that Governor Mike DeWine signed House Bills 669 and 160 into law this week, both of which provide Ohio’s restaurants, bars and wineries with additional flexibility to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
"Our local restaurants, bars and wineries have gone to great lengths to ensure the safety of their customers and staff," Blessing said. "These bills will help ease these already overburdened businesses by providing them extra flexibility and reducing red tape."
House Bill 669
allows bars and restaurants to permanently sell sealed alcoholic beverages, or “to-go drinks,” for off-premises consumption and includes consumer protections added by the Senate. It also extends the authorization for restaurants and bars to expand the area in which they conduct on-site alcohol services – including outdoor areas such as parking lots and sidewalks – through December 31, 2022. During the committee process, the bill received strong support from a number of businesses and organizations, including the Ohio Restaurant Association.
To further help the restaurant and service industry recover, the Senate also passed House Bill 160
. This bill, which Blessing originally co-sponsored while serving in the Ohio House, doubles the maximum number of Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas (DORAs) that may be created in a municipality or township. The bill also removes burdensome regulations from Ohio’s small wineries, allowing them to sell pre-packaged food without being subject to regulation by the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Both bills were passed with strong bipartisan support and include an "emergency clause" that allowed them to take effect immediately upon the Governor's signature.