DeWine And Ohio Senate At Odds Over Lifting COVID-19 Bar Restrictions

Oct 16, 2020

The mandatory 10 p.m. shutdown of liquor sales at Ohio bars getting pushback from owners, customers and elected officials. But Gov. Mike DeWine says the curfew has to stay in place for now.

Two-thirds of Ohio state senators, Republicans and Democrats, have signed onto a bill to repeal the 10 p.m. bar curfew, in place since July 28. Dozens of bars have been cited for selling alcohol past 10 p.m. and staying open later than 11 p.m.

DeWine has gotten pressure from cities and even law enforcement who have said people drinking in bars is safer than congregating elsewhere. But the governor said with the way cases are rising in Ohio, the curfew stays.

On Thursday, Ohio recorded its heighest number of daily new COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began – for the second day in a row.

“Candidly, I thought we would be able to lift that," DeWine said. "But when you look at these numbers, these numbers are just horrible. And they’re going the wrong way. And we just can’t do it at this point."

The governor said he knows bars have been uniquely hurt by the initial shutdown, the restrictions on opening and this curfew. DeWine says he hopes to have details soon on how the state can help them out financially.