Today is a day that Ohio business owners have been looking forward to since the middle of November.
In a live-streamed COVID update delivered this afternoon, Gov. Mike DeWine announced that Ohio has lifted its state-wide 11 p.m. curfew.
“The curfew actually expired at noon today; there’s no curfew,” he said earlier today.
Following the most recent curfew extension, DeWine noted that the state needed to see fewer than 2,500 hospitalizations for at least a seven-day period.
“And we’ve blown through that,” he said.
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Now, many local business owners can finally breathe a sigh of relief, as bars and restaurants are allowed (starting tonight) to stay open past 11 p.m.
“Those extra hours are going to help everyone. We feed a lot of service workers late when they get off their shifts, and right now they get out and everything is closed except fast food places,” said Sam Kirk, owner of the Macho Taco food truck. “So not only do we get to feed more customers with the extra hours, but we also get to feed fellow service workers who are all craving real, quality food. It’s a win-win.”
And according to Lindsey Gerhard, bar manager at The Citizens Trust, many Columbus bars truly depend on the money generated from sales throughout these hours, something they wouldn’t have been able to survive much longer without.
“With the curfew being lifted, it gives bars and restaurants the opportunity to make late night revenue that they have been missing out from for almost a year,” she said. “A lot of establishments rely on late night food and night caps, post-event celebration business, and most importantly, sports. This will also give many bars the ability to open again, knowing they are the late night destination spot.”
According to DeWine, it’s still a possibility that the state may have to impose a curfew in the future. But for now at least, the numbers are trending in the right direction. He urged Ohians to continue wearing masks and maintaining social distancing..
“Doctors will say it’s very important to continue doing what we’ve been doing,” DeWine said.
“We check on the mask-wearing every week, sampling throughout the state of Ohio. In retail establishments it’s about 93% and it’s been holding steady, so we’ve got to keep it up there; that’s just part of what we’re going to have to do as we go through this period of time.”