The City of Columbus has been under curfew restrictions for quite some time now. Back n November, Governor Mike DeWine initiated a state wide curfew of 10 p.m. in efforts to curve the growing COVID-19 numbers. Months later, there may be a little light shinging at the end of the tunnel, with the curfew potentially changing.
Governor DeWine has outlined a plan that could change the statewide COVID-19 curfew. And for local bar and restaurant owners, that is music to their ears. For owners, they’ve previously expressed that the hardest part about dealing with the curfew was not knowing when it would end.
According to DeWine, updates to the curfew could come as early as Thursday. It all depends on whether or not the state of Ohio reaches certain goals regarding COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Two local businesses, Camelot Cellars and Saucy Brew Works are located on opposite sides of town but have equally struggled after opening up shop mid-pandemic.
“Yeah, the timing was horrible,” said Justin Gardner, Saucy Brew Works’ restaurant manager. “The curfew has been really tough. When you think about an extra hour or two a night, it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s kind of a lifeline to a small business.”
Both Camelot Cellars and Saucy Brew Works, as with many other small businesses, have made adjustments to work within the curfew guidelines. But all are pretty much over it.
Tuesday, Governor DeWine announced that if daily coronavirus hospitalizations are under 3,500 for seven days in a row, the curfew will finally be pushed back just a bit from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. for at least two weeks.
“That’s going to go up, the minute he says, ’11’ is the minute that it’ll be on the sign at 11 and put out,” said Renard Green, owner of Camelot Cellars.
DeWine’s plans goes on to state that if daily COVID hospitalizations drop to below 3,000 for a week, the curfew would be pushed back to midnight for at least two weeks, and if hospitalizations drop under 2,500 for a week, the Ohio Department of Health would recommend lifting the curfew.
“It’s been a really long time coming for a lot of restaurants,” Gardner said.
Business owners are thankful to have some numbers to compare and contrast instead of all the uncertainty. I mean this pandemic has affected the livelihood of millions.
“Metrics are always important,” Green said. “To finally have something that we can look and I can look at a number and say, ‘OK, if this happens, then this should be done,’ it’s going to be amazing for us because that allows us to plan better and strategize around it.”
DeWine in continuing to encourage all Ohioans to practice all social distancing protocols and made it clear that if at any point hospitalizations start rising again, a longer curfew could be put back in place.