A bill that would allow bars and restaurants to use parking lots, green space and even streets for social distancing for customers is now being considered by the Ohio Senate.
There’s also a provision in the bill that didn’t get much attention until it was on the floor: a plan to extend the hours that bars can stay open to 4 a.m.
The Ohio Mayors Alliance supports the idea of expanded outdoor space for bars and restaurants. But spokesman Keary McCarthy says his members are concerned about keeping people apart under the provision to allow bars to stay open later – in most cases, by about two more hours.
“That is only going to be harder, the later it gets into the evening, to maintain good public health practices and social distancing,” McCarthy said.
Representatives who voted against the bill say they’re also worried about the impact of a later last call on police. But supporters say not all bars will apply for the 4 a.m. permit, and local governments could refuse those applications.
The bill also allows liquor sales on Sunday, and could cost the state nearly $5.9 million in fees by eliminating 12,5000 Sunday sales permits.