Today, the Ohio Liquor Commission approved a measure requested by Gov. Dewine to require all permitted liquor businesses to close liquor sales by 10pm. The Libertarian Party of Ohio condemns the action of the Commission and Gov. Dewine.
This measure will destroy an already fragile business segment that is reeling from three months of forced closure. Bars and restaurants (use to) employ 585,000 Ohioans – our neighbors, friends, and family. The Commission heard testimony from many business owners who stated plainly that they will lose up to 30% of their business and close if this measure were passed. The Ohio Restaurant Association reported that the industry has experienced a 50% decline in sales since reopening and 30% of respondents to a poll indicated they would not be in business in 9 months. The Commission either did not listen or did not care.
During the three months of forced closure, these businesses have spent thousands, and in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars modifying layouts, installing shields, training personnel, and hiring professional cleaning services to protect their customers. These measures brought many small businesses to the brink of bankruptcy, but at least they could open and begin the slow climb out of debt. Reducing the time for operation of the business will result in permanent closures, bankruptcies, increased unemployment, and financial ruin for many Ohioans.
Gov. Dewine, in his Thursday press conference, admitted that most businesses were fully compliant with the guidelines established by the Commission prior to the reopening in June. “Let me just say to bar owners, most of you are doing a phenomenal job,” DeWine said. “You’re following the directions; you’re doing everything you can to keep your bar open. Sadly, not every bar is doing that.” Why then, are ALL licensees subject to this punitive action? Why are the Governor and the Commission using threats to occupational licenses to undermine justice in a free society?
This is the kind of hypocrisy we have come to expect from our leaders. We have seen our Governor’s reaction to the Black Lives Matter protests – not all police departments and officers are racist, therefore do not call for defunding all police. Well Mr. Dewine, not all bars are violating guidelines, DO NOT FORCE THEM ALL TO CLOSE DOWN!
We can no longer stand back and allow our government to condemn small businesses to extinction. We can no longer allow our leaders to be selective when it comes to accountability. We can no longer tolerate the two-parties that have betrayed us for years with more regulation, more taxation, and more lies.
We can be proactive in battling COVID-19 without destroying entire segments of the economy. We can bring power back to the people. We can vote Libertarian. You are the power!