Open containers could soon be allowed on some NE Ohio streets - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Open containers could soon be allowed on some NE Ohio streets

Open containers could become legal on some NE Ohio streets (Source: WOIO) Open containers could become legal on some NE Ohio streets (Source: WOIO)
Ohio could soon allow open containers in certain entertainment districts thanks to a bill that made its way through the state legislature.

All it needs is Governor Kasich's signature.

If that happens, it would be up to individual towns and cities to decide where to allow open containers.

"Other than New Orleans I don't really know many places that have open container laws. So it would have some novelty I think," said Alex George, who is visiting Cleveland from Pennsylvania.

"It's something different than where we're from, so maybe it would bring people in from more than the Cleveland area," said Erin Hassett, George's friend.

Cities with more than 50,000 people could pick two places for "outdoor refreshment areas."

Those areas would be exempt from Ohio's open container law.
 
Smaller towns with just over 35,000 would get just one area.

In two years, smaller towns may also be able to apply to designate one outdoor refreshment area too.

"I think it would increase business on East 4th and other areas that allow it. As long as they don't get out of control it would be awesome," said Andrew Dicken.

Business owners like the idea too. 

"I think it would be a great thing for East 4th, being such a walkable area with lots of restaurants and bars down here,” said Nikki Johnson, general manager of Butcher & the Brewer.

For others, safety is a concern. 

"Sometimes people think they're under control when they actually aren't. So as long as you're with somebody that can keep things contained, I think it will be good," said Ana Simulj.

So where would it be?

Some ideas we heard include the Warehouse District, The Flats and Ohio City.

A Cleveland city spokesman says it's too early to think about options..

But some people are already on board.

"Take your drink, mingle and socialize. I think it's a good idea," said Erin Hassett. 

If the governor signs it, the measure would go into effect right away.

Cities would have to post a public notice before voting on where to allow it.
 
After that, a number of public safety issues like boundaries of the area, signs, hours of operation and security would have to be established by the city.

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