Health Departments Cannot Suspend Licenses Over Masks

July 22, 2020

Ohio Restaurants are protected by Ohio Constitution’s limit on arbitrary administrative enactments.

Ashland, OH – The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law today, on behalf of an Ohio restaurant shut down by its local health department over its cook not wearing a mask, moved to immediately enjoin the department’s ongoing suspension of the restaurant’s food service operation license.

Cattlemans Restaurant in Savannah, Ohio has been shut down without a hearing since the Ashland County Health Department issued a Cease and Desist Order on July 15, 2020.

However, the 1851 Center’s Complaint and Motion for Temporary Restraining Order explain that health departments lack the authority to suspend an Ohio business license, even temporarily, over an alleged mask violation.

“The Ohio Constitution prevents administrative agencies from imagining new policies for suspending licenses and shutting down businesses,” explained 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson.  “The State’s mask requirements remain largely symbolic and unenforceable.”

The case is pending before Judge Ronald Forsthoefel in the Ashland County Court of Common Pleas.

Read the 1851 Center’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction Here.


The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law is a nonprofit, nonpartisan legal center dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of Ohioans from government abuse. The 1851 Center litigates constitutional issues related to property rights, regulation, taxation, and searches and seizures.