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Ohio restaurants get green light for alcoholic drinks to go

Ohio's governor has signed a bill to let some cities create outdoor refreshment areas where revelers could walk outside with open containers of alcohol.

Gov. John Kasich's office says he signed the proposal Thursday. An emergency clause in the legislation allows it to take effect immediately.

The measure will allow cities of a certain size to create areas exempted from the state's open-container law. That law generally prohibits a person from carrying an open container of beer or liquor in public.

The idea is to allow for entertainment districts similar to Bourbon Street in New Orleans and Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee.

Supporters of the proposal want to create such areas in time for Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in Cincinnati on July 14.

The legislation was sponsored by representatives Bill Blessing (R-Colerain) and Denise Driehaus (D-Cincinnati).

"This law will help create economic opportunity for our communities while growing local Ohio businesses. These districts will become destination spots which will create excitement and provide a critical mass of customers for the restaurants, bars and shops in the district and nearby,” Driehaus said.

Most businesses owners and patrons at The Banks Wednesday night said they supported the proposed law, which was approved Wednesday.

?“I am grateful to our state legislators for passing this bill," Mayor John Cranley said. "Several business owners have been seeking this opportunity. I am sure the districts, once they are established, will attract more visitors to our city."

The City Council still has to agree on which areas will get the entertainment district designations.

One location is a sure spot but the second location is still up in the air.

The Banks is a prime location and a likely bet for a new entertainment zone, a place where people can buy alcohol from a bar or restaurant and walk around outside with an open container.

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