Dine-in Restaurants and Bars Closed at 9 p.m. Sunday

NILES, Ohio – In an effort to contain the community spread of the novel coronavirus, Gov. Mike DeWine ordered that all dine-in restaurants and bars close at 9 p.m. Sunday, and will remain closed until further notice.

The update came during a press conference Sunday. Carry out and food delivery services are still permitted, he says.

The announcement comes after the number of positive cases for the COVID-19 strain increased to 37 in Ohio, including a second patient in Trumbull County. The Ohio Department of Health reports 361 individuals are under investigation and 140 have tested negative.

In an effort to help alleviate some of the economic burden of the closures, Ohio Liquor will allow bars and restaurants to return unopened high-proof liquor products purchased within the past 30 days. That includes those who may have obtained a temporary permit (F2) for an event, scheduled between March 12 and April 6 and that event is now canceled, according to OHLQ.com.

The F2 permit holder can return the unopened high-proof liquor product back to the Contract Liquor Agency from where it was purchased. For questions or more information on the one-time buy back, contact the LESC at 877 812 0013 or OhioLiquorInfo@com.ohio.gov.

During NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning, DeWine addressed the possibility of closing restaurants and bars. DeWine said the pandemic of 1918 taught us that “every day counts so much.

“You cannot wait, you have to move quickly. These are tough decisions and we’re inconveniencing people’s lives, but we’ve got to save lives. Everything we’re doing is to save lives,” he said.

Earlier Sunday, the governor announced schools throughout the state might close for the remainder of the academic year.

DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton gave an update on the coronavirus in Ohio at 3:30 p.m., and outlined response measures.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-OH, said he supports DeWine’s decision to close bars and restaurants.

“The decision made by Governor DeWine today to stop in-restaurant service but allow takeout and delivery will help keep everyone safe by avoiding larger gatherings. I support the decision and commend the governor and his team for their pro active leadership during this crisis. We must all do our part to slow the spread of the virus. That means practicing good hygiene, social distancing, and avoiding crowds. 

Portman said he is now working with colleagues and the Trump administration on economic stimulus legislation to help workers and small and mid-sized businesses. The House passed legislation and the Senate is expected to vote on it early this week. 

The Trumbull County Health Department confirmed Saturday a 53-year-old woman with no travel history to an infected region and with no contact to the first reported case tested positive Saturday. “Consequently, we are seeing community spread,” the release states.

The Trumbull County Combined Health District nursing staff are identifying those who have had contact with the woman for coordinated monitoring for signs and symptoms of the disease and to place themselves in quarantine during a 14-day observation period.

Kevin Harris, 55, of Warren, self-identified himself on social media and has publicly spoken about his sickness. He remains hospitalized at Mercy Health — St. Joseph Warren Hospital. The Health Department reported that results of first contacts with him have come back negative.

So far, Ohio has ordered all schools closed, banned gatherings of 100 or more people, and restricted access to nursing homes and prisons. DeWine also said he is considering closing all daycares, although that order has not been issued at press time.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.