Ohio Enacts 10 p.m. Curfew Starting Thursday; Takeout and Delivery Not Affected

CEDARVILLE, Ohio — Starting Thursday at 10 p.m., Ohioans will need to abide a curfew in an effort to curb contact with others.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced the curfew during his coronavirus update Tuesday. Starting Nov. 19 and running for 21 days, retail businesses will need to be closed and Ohioans will be expected to be home by 10 p.m. The curfew lifts at 5 a.m. daily, DeWine said.

“We believe this is going to help,” he said.

The curfew is passed in lieu of closing businesses completely, such as with the shut-down order given earlier in the spring, he said. Rather than shut down businesses, the state is asking residents to limit their activity, including contacts with other people.

“We know if we reduce the number of people we come into contact with every day,” DeWine said, “we reduce the chances of getting the virus. And we reduce the chances of spreading the virus if we unknowingly have it.”

As the administration has stated in previous weeks, the goal is to prevent hospitals from being overrun with COVID-19 patients. Over the past 21 days of spread, hospitals have seen those numbers increase to more than 3,600, up from 1,400, reported Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.

“As a result, some of these hospitals have had to accommodate this increase in numbers by slowing, postponing some elective surgeries,” Husted said. “We just can’t see this trend continue without it having a really increasingly negative impact on the way our caregivers provide that care.”

This order is about a week after the governor announced a renewed mask order for retailers, which includes creation of a retail compliance unit composed of agents from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, who will inspect stores. Inspectors went out for the first time on Monday and reported that even before that day, Ohioans were reporting increased numbers of people wearing masks in retail places.

During that announcement, the governor alluded to the possibility of closing down restaurants, bars and fitness centers after a week of consideration. In that time, the administration received contacts from restaurateurs and employees about the impact that would have on an industry that is already enduring heavy sales losses year-over-year.

After speaking with industry representatives, including the Ohio Restaurant Association, it was agreed that the curfew would be the “least disruptive option” to businesses and the economy while still providing a “meaningfully positive impact” for health care providers, Husted said.

John Barker, president and CEO of the Ohio Restaurant Association, agreed, pledging his support of the curfew.

“We think it’s the right step at the right time,” Barker said. “It’s going to allow Ohioans to do their part without having what we thought would be an immediate and disastrous impact on restaurants and thousands of employees if we shut everything down.”

The curfew does not affect carryout and delivery services, which may still run past 10 p.m. It also doesn’t impact anyone getting groceries, going to the pharmacy or who has an emergency.

Barker reported restaurants are operating safely and he has seen “incredible examples all over the state” as locations separate tables, install barriers between tables and booths, increase cleaning and sanitizing and keep up with their personal protective gear, as well as install new air filtration units.

All at a cost when restaurants are seeing year-over-year sales down 20% to 70%, Barker said.

“I think it’s important to recognize that restaurants have done everything to ensure that they’re not spreading the virus,” he said. “We believe the curfew is the best choice to slow things down right now and help everyone understand it’s time to be even more cautious.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.