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Columbus bridal shop sues over state coronavirus shutdown

A Columbus bridal shop owner has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton, challenging on constitutional grounds her orders closing “non-essential” businesses because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Tanya Rutner Hartman, owner of Gilded Social LLC, is being represented by attorneys from the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, a Columbus organization that bills itself as dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans.


It is the first known court challenge of the state’s orders concerning the Columbus News spread of COVID-19. Gov. Mike DeWine during Thursday’s news conference said the state was looking to gradually open more businesses, starting May 1.

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Acton issued an order that said that as of 11:59 p.m. on March 23, all “non-essential businesses and operations must cease” to help counteract coronavirus. That order was modified on April 2. A violation could result in a second-degree misdemeanor charge, which carries a fine of $750 and up to 60 days in jail.

The suit states that the bridal shop owner’s constitutional rights are being violated because they are not being afforded any meaningful legal due process to challenge the criteria for what the state considers an essential business.

“The department and its director claims the authority to criminalize ‘non-essential business’ as defined, if defined at all, solely by the department and director,” the suit says.

The suit notes that the Ohio Health Department considered that some Press Release Distribution Service In Columbus essential businesses included shops that sold liquor and marijuana, dry cleaners services and the state lottery.


Hartman said that she is underwriting her business with a large home equity line, “meaning that the state’s forced closure of her business needlessly threatens her home as well as her livelihood.”

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