State Watch

Ohio announces liquor buyback program to support bars and restaurants

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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said Monday that the state will launch a liquor buyback program to support bars and restaurants closing during the coronavirus outbreak.

“This will especially aid those establishments that have stocked up on high-proof liquor ahead of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday,” DeWine said in a tweet Monday.

Under the program, an establishment will have the option to return any unopened high-proof liquor products purchased in the last 30 days, according to the state Department of Commerce’s Division of Liquor Control.

The buyback will also be open to any businesses that secured a temporary, or F2, permit for an event scheduled between March 12 and April 6 that has since been canceled, with possible consideration closer to April 6 if necessary, according to the state.

“All a bar/restaurant or F2 permit holder needs to do is bring the unopened high proof liquor product back to the Contract Liquor Agency [where] they purchased the product,” the department said in a statement. “The Agency will call the Liquor Enterprise Service Center (LESC) for approval. Approval is immediate, but awareness of the return is necessary.”

DeWine has been one of the most aggressive governors in responding to the pandemic, closing all bars and restaurants in the state Sunday and saying on CNN’s “State of the Union” that it was “absolutely” possible the state’s public schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year.

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