Ohio Division of Liquor Control Allowing Return of High Proof Liquor Products

coronavirus in ohio and bars and restaurants

In light of the developing Coronavirus issue in Ohio, on March 14, 2020, it was announced that bars and restaurants will be allowed to return a high proof liquor product, purchased within the past 30 days.

The process is noted to be easy and permitted, hoping to provide some help for small businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic in Ohio.

The Ohio Restaurant Association is keeping a list of resources of developing changes that bars and restaurants should be aware of.

How to Return Liquor in Ohio During the Coronavirus Pandemic:

  • All a bar/restaurant or F2 permit holder needs to do is bring the unopened product back to the Agency from which they purchased the product.
  • The Agencies will call the Liquor Enterprise Service Center (LESC) for approval. Approval is immediate, but awareness of the return is necessary.
  • For questions or more information regarding the one-time high proof liquor buy back, please feel free to contact the LESC at 877-812-0013 or OhioLiquorInfo@com.ohio.gov
  • This courtesy also extends to those who may have obtained a temporary permit (F2) for an event, scheduled between 3/12 – 4/6, and that event is now cancelled. Additional consideration will be given closer to 4/6 if needed.

As of March 15, 2020, bars and restaurants have been ordered to close to the public. Establishments can stay open for carry-out and delivery. (updated 3:54pm to reflect Governor Mike DeWine’s latest update).

Scott Ellsworth, owner of Thr3es and Fours, has made the decision to close both bars until the pandemic recedes.

“Our staff and customers mean too much to us and our responsibility is to keep them safe,” Ellsworth noted in a Facebook post. “Your well being is and always will be more important than our bottom line.”

Ellsworth says the offer from the state is nice but he’s unsure if he will use it, and thinks the 30 day purchase date may need to be extended.

“If we can be back open in a month or so, it’s doubtful we’ll use this,” he says. “It depends on how long we stay closed. It’s a nice offer from them though, because I’m sure there’s plenty of bars that will help.”

Michelle Hill, owner of St James Tavern, has also closed her bar for the next two weeks.

Update 3:54pm: Governor Mike DeWine has ordered all bars and restaurants to close beginning at 9pm on Sunday, March 15. Via twitter: “Establishments can stay open for carry-out and delivery. What we can’t have is people congregating and seated.”

Resources for Bars and Restaurants About Coronavirus:

For resources, visit OhioRestaurant.org, and the Ohio Department of Health’s website specifically for Coronavirus updates. For resources to help one deal with the stress and mental toll of the Coronavirus pandemic in Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.