COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — Bars across Ohio prepared to stop alcohol sales Friday at 10 p.m., following a move from the State. It is part of Governor Mike DeWine's efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.
"I always tell the kids I coach, you get knocked down, you get right back up. That is what hockey is about and that is what we are going to do," said Michael Darr, owner of R Bar, a spot popular with hockey fans.
Some bar and restaurant owners, feel like they are being checked by this latest move from the state. Drinks will have to be finished by 11 p.m.
For spots in the Arena District, this comes as they were preparing for the Columbus Blue Jackets playoff games, which can bring in big crowds.
"With the playoffs and so forthcoming up, it is definitely an unfortunate circumstance. We are working on plans to be able to handle it," said Darr.
Darr hopes to get through this as fast as possible.
"Especially after hockey games that is definitely when it really picks up and away games and stuff like that those later night hours are really important for the bar industry, but so is happy hour, so we will just keep going," he said.
Tim Emery, owner of Boston's Bar and Restaurant just across from the arena, said this rule will mostly impact them during games that start at 8 p.m.
But, what if fans want to celebrate a win?
"Those games typically go two hours and 15 minutes to two and a half hours, so we will be open still when we are not allowed to serve, which could create a little bit of an issue. We could do a last call shortly before ten. Now, if they win the game I'm sure people would like to stay around, but that won't be an option," said Emery.
Crowds may not be as big as say a home game, but there is frustration.
Like R Bar, the team at Boston's will continue to focus on safety protocols and some creative options.
"We have a nice 34-ounce schooner they could get at 9:55 pm that will probably last them through the remainder of the game," said Emery.
Attorney Ed Hastie, who represents bars and restaurants, said Friday afternoon his firm will likely file suit Monday.
He's never seen anything quite like this, with over 100 bar and restaurant teams contacting his firm about a potential lawsuit just Friday he said.
But the advice to clients: follow the rules until you hear otherwise.
Governor DeWine says he understands the economic impact, but that something needs to be done to help slow the spread, saying there is an inherent problem with bars and people going in and out frequently.