Cleveland-Area Bars And Restaurants Sue State Over Coronavirus Rules

Jun 9, 2020

The owners of eight bars and restaurants in Northeast Ohio are suing Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton over rules put in place for restaurants to reopen following closure due to the coronavirus.

The attorney for the restaurants, Tom Connick, says the social distancing measures and other rules put in place by the state are unconstitutional.

“If they fail to do so or they can’t, they will be subject to strict criminal liability. And that’s unconstitutional," Connick says. "The director is not an elected official. She cannot supplant her own orders for the criminal code, especially when they are against the backdrop of very vague requirements that are almost unenforceable."

Connick says the new rules are unenforceable.

“One of the standards is if one of my clients sees someone who they think has been infected with COVID-19, they can’t let them into the premises. Well, my clients are not medical doctors," Connick says.

Connick says it’s unconstitutional to threaten owners with shutdown or loss of their alcohol permits due to violation of those rules, and that enforcing the rules could result in civil lawsuits from customers.