Court Dismisses Charges Against Restaurant Over Reopening After COVID-19 Shutdown

Jun 12, 2020

A court in eastern Ohio has dismissed a case that brought criminal charges against the owner of a diner in Cambridge for failing to comply with rules set forth in the state’s reopening plan for restaurants. This was the outcome the state’s Attorney General had requested.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost admits the owner of the National Road Diner violated a major state rule for restaurants by opening on May 2, when indoor dining wasn’t allowed till May 21.

“All of the rules were being followed except the start date. The proper thing in my view, if it was important, was to go get an injunction, say ‘you are not allowed to do that, stop it," Yost says.

But Yost says bringing a second-degree misdemeanor charge with potential jail time was too harsh because the owner wasn’t willfully ignoring the state’s rules. And Yost says a restraining order could have been issued, but he notes local health officials didn’t seek one.