By a unanimous vote, Columbus City Council voted Monday night to repeal an ordinance prohibiting non-carryout or delivery sales of food, beer, wine, and liquor between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
“In our ongoing effort to balance the public’s safety with the economic impact of the pandemic on restaurants and bars, repealing the curfew makes good sense,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther in a statement.
The ordinance went into effect July 28, and a warning was issued for a first violation, with penalties increasing to a $500 fine for a second violation and $1,000 for every violation thereafter.
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While the curfew has been lifted for late-night dining, a state order banning alcohol sales after 10 p.m. remains in place for now, but Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has said he is currently reviewing the matter.
“What we constantly have to evaluate is how this hurts small business, versus what it does if we expand the hours with regard to potential spread,” DeWine said.
The statewide prohibition has governed bars, restaurants, and nightclubs since July 31, and the measure City Council passed last night indicated that is what “obviated the need for local legislation at this time.”
The week that Columbus and the state of Ohio took action (July 26-Aug. 1), Franklin County had an average of 149 newly reported COVID-19 cases per day. This past week (Sept 27-Oct. 3), the county’s daily average was 96.