On Monday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 263, which allows "the owner of a retail food establishment or food service operation to allow dogs in an outdoor dining area of the establishment or operation." Basically, you will soon be able to legally hang out with your dog while you eat brunch/lunch/dinner/etc. outside.
Prior to the passing of the bill, Ohio restaurant patios and other outdoor areas with food service that allowed live animals on the premises could be held in violation of certain health code restrictions. House Bill 263 says that the health department and director of agriculture will now establish new health code standards regarding safe food handling and sanitation as it applies to allowing dogs on site. The bill doesn't specify an effective date in the text, which means it will become effective after 90 days.
So, gear up to dine out with your dog.
Note: This doesn't mean that restaurants have to let your dog on the patio (unless it's a service animal; there are legal requirements for that) but if they do allow dogs, there are still some rules to follow:
- You must control your dog(s) while in the outdoor dining area via leash or other method
- You can't take the dog through the interior of the restaurant to reach the outdoor part
- Your dog must be properly vaccinated
Dogs, dogs, dogs, dogs.