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Representatives LaRe and Swearingen Announce Bill to Bring Revenue and Safety to Businesses

May 20, 2020
Jeff LaRe News

Press Release Poster

COLUMBUS – State Representatives Jeff LaRe (R-Violet Township) and D.J. Swearingen (R-Huron) today announced a bill that will bring revenue and safety to businesses.

The Business Expansion and Safety Act will allow bars, restaurants, breweries and wineries to have greater flexibility to bring in more revenue and assist them in moving forward with a safer and more socially distanced friendly environment.

The Business Expansion and Safety Act would do the following:

  • Allows for retail permit holders to utilize more outside space on private or public property with approval from the local township or municipality while serving customers.
  • Codify into permanent law the “carry-out” drinks allowance by the Ohio Liquor Control Commission.
  • Allows for third party delivery for carryout alcohol for those over the age of 21.

“Bars and restaurants have barely been able to stay afloat during COVID by offering takeout food and beverages, including to-go alcohol,” said Swearingen. “It’s important to allow them to continue with these sales even when they begin to open because of the limitations their facilities face with social distancing protocols.”

Even with reopenings beginning, businesses revenue is limited due to social distancing requirements. Ohio saw the difficulties in this over the weekend when several establishments were issued citations for violating the Ohio Administrative Code of social distancing.

“The Business Expansion and Safety Act is necessary for these businesses who cannot fit their maximum capacity in their facility during this time,” said LaRe. “As a member of the OHIO 2020 Economic Recovery Task Force, we have heard that bar and restaurant owners are in support of this legislation, as it would give them greater flexibility in ways to bring in revenue.”

Greg Lehman, owner of Watershed Distillery and president of Ohio Distiller’s Guild, joined LaRe and Swearingen for the press conference, giving remarks in support of the legislation.

“There are many benefits built into this bill, including the fact that it would speed up the path to reopening for restaurants and bars by expanding the space in which they can safely serve customers,” said Lehman. “Expanding the footprint of our business also helps us get closer to achieving economic viability, something that’s harder to do with current limitation, albeit understandable ones, on capacity.”

Because of the coronavirus, all Ohioans have had to adapt and change certain aspects of how they operate. The Business Expansion and Safety Act is adapting to what Ohio’s business climates have faced so that they can continue to operate, try their best to draw in revenue and still keep Ohioans safe as they go out for human interaction and to have a meal with friends and family.


For more information, contact Rep. LaRe’s office at (614) 466-8100 or or Rep. Swearingen’s office at (614) 644-6011 or