Columbus Rescinds Bar And Restaurant Curfew, But State Rules Remain

Oct 6, 2020

Columbus City Council has voted to drop coronavirus-related restrictions on bars and restaurants, although state limitations remain in place.

Council voted unanimously Monday to rescind the mandate for establishments to stop selling alcohol and food by 10 p.m. and close by 11 p.m.

The ordinance was passed in July at the urging of Columbus Public Health director Dr. Mysheika Roberts.

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

While a Franklin County judge blocked the city's ordinance from being enforced, Gov. Mike DeWine quickly issued a similar rule at the state level through the Ohio Liquor Control Commission. That curfew remains in effect, but DeWine recently said he's reconsidering it because of how it’s affected businesses' profits.

Restaurant and bar owners have been highly critical of city and state leaders for the curfews. They’ve been especially hard for bars, which often rely on late-night business for much of their profits.

A group of Columbus restaurants and bars sued to stop the state ban, but a Franklin County judge shot down their request in August.

Public health officials say restrictions on bars and restaurants are particularly important in limiting exposure, because patrons aren’t wearing masks for extended periods as they eat or drink.