COLUMBUS—State Representative Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) applauded the Ohio House’s passage of legislation to allow Ohio restaurants owners to open their patios to canine customers and their owners.
House Bill 263 was introduced by Rep. Lanese after hearing from constituents who discovered it was illegal for them to bring their dogs to local restaurant patios despite having done so previously. The legislation will give restaurants and bars the option to allow dogs on their outdoor patios. Dogs will still be prohibited from coming inside the restaurant unless they are a service animal.
Under the legislation, sanitary procedures will be put in place for patio dining areas to protect public health, including procedures for cleaning up dog waste and employee hand washing requirements after touching a dog. If an establishment violates any provision under the legislation, dogs would not be permitted on the patio for 30 days on the first offense, within a one-year period; for six months for the second offense, within a one-year period, and for one year for the third offense, within a one year period.
“We’re acknowledging the strong human-animal connection,” said Lanese. “It’s important for us to send a message that we on Capitol Square are going to step out of the way of businesses on Main Street whenever possible.”
Many states already permit restaurant owners to adopt their own pet policy, including California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Georgia, New York, Rhode Island, and Tennessee. Similar legislation is also being considered by the Michigan state legislature.
House Bill 263 now awaits further consideration by the Ohio Senate.