OU Top 10 Questions 2013
Is there any halachic problem for a kosher meat restaurant to be opened throughout the nine days? And would it affect the Hashgacha?
Kashrus authorities generally do not enforce the closure of meat restaurants in the Nine Days although they prefer that they should be closed.
Restaurants offering meat during the nine days from Rosh Chodesh Av until Tisha BeAv, raises the question of Lifnei Iver. Although the prohibition against eating meat during the nine days is “only” by the force of a custom, Rishonim apply the principle of Lifnei Iver to forbid supplying meat during these days of mourning. However, this is true when meat can only be acquired via this avenue and shutting off this supply will block all meat. Where meat is anyway accessible, as is the case these days, there is no prohibition of Lifnei Iver, only the lesser MeSaYeYa Ovrey Aveira, assisting sinners in their activities which according to Tosafos, does not apply to rabbinic prohibitions. (see Yecheveh Daas 3:38).
Based on a dispute between Rashi and Tosafos, Kiddushin 56a, some argue that because the restaurants are all owned by Jews, the prohibition of Lifnei Iver still applies.
One must also consider that there is a real risk that if restaurants were to be closed, some will eat at non-Kosher restaurants instead.
For these reasons, the Teshuvos VeHanhagos (2:257) writes that we are not obliged to protest. He suggests however, that a note be displayed, stating that the meaty foods are intended only for those who are permitted to eat them in the Nine Days (for instance, Sephardim before the week of Tisha Be’Av commences; and when Tisha Be’Av is on Sunday, they may eat meat without restriction).