Columbus Mayor And Health Commissioner Move To Limit Bar And Restaurant Hours

Jul 24, 2020

Columbus leaders want to limit hours at bars and restaurants to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Columbus City Council will take up the measure Monday.

Mayor Andrew Ginther and Health Commissioner Mysheika Roberts are sending legislation to City Council ordering bars restaurants and nightclubs to close by 11 p.m. each night.  The changes would take effect next Tuesday.

In a press release, the city notes bars and restaurants are particularly important in limiting exposure, because patrons aren’t wearing masks for extended periods as they eat or drink.

“Shortening the time that people gather in groups will help reduce the risk not only to those who participate, but the entire community," Roberts says. 

She goes on to note that masks, distancing and hand washing are also vital in limiting the spread of coronavirus.

Although restaurants and bars have been allowed to reopen indoor dining since May, many have kept to takeout service only due to concerns about the virus. Some restaurants have had to close temporarily after a patron or employee tested positive for COVID-19.

When WOSU spoke to bartenders and servers earlier this month, many said customers are not abiding by the business requirements for social distancing and mask-wearing, regardless of the time of day.

"I dont' feel like we're not acting safe," said one restaurant employee. "It's our guests that come in that aren't necessarily taking these precautions making it safe for us."