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Lawsuit filed by Columbus bridal shop claims non-essential business closure unconstitutional

A federal lawsuit has been filed by a Columbus bridal shop against Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton claiming the state’s ban on non-essential businesses is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit was filed by Tanya Hartman, who owns Gilded Social in downtown Columbus.

She is asking for a judgment, preliminary or permanent injunction, Columbus News and unspecified damages after Acton issued a stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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The order went into effect on March 23 at 11:59 p.m. prohibiting people from gathering and closing all non-essential businesses.

A new order was issued by Acton on April 2 that went into effect on April 7 and lasting through May 1.

The lawsuit said, “The Department and its Director claims the authority to criminalize “non-essential business” as defined, if defined at all, solely by the Department and the Director.”

A possible penalty for violating the order would be a second-degree misdemeanor and include a fine no greater than $750 or more than 90 days in jail, or both.

The lawsuit also took issue with the dispute resolution detailed in the new order, which said "If any local health department issues a determination under Section 17 of this Order that is in conflict with a determination issued by a different local health department, then the conflict may be submitted to the ODH by either of the local health departments or an entity or person subject to the determination. A Dispute Resolution Commission appointed by the Director of Health shall review the conflict and make a determination as to the application of this Order to the conflict. The decision of the Dispute Resolution Commission shall be final."

Gilded Social, which started a new five-year lease in November, was forced to close because of the order.

Hartman brought attention in the suit to businesses allowed to stay open including stores that sell liquor and marijuana, dry cleaners, and the state lottery.

According to the lawsuit, Hartman claims her constitutional rights Press Release Distribution Service In Columbus is being violated because there was no due process or review available to determine if the businesses were essential or not.

People who shop at Gilded Social, do so only by appointment only, the lawsuit said, and Hartman argued that would allow her to control how many people are in the shop at on time.

Without business coming into the shop, Hartman said her business will fail, and bankruptcy or closing would be a “virtual certainty.”

10TV reached out to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for a comment on the lawsuit but has not heard back.

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