An estimated 3,400 Ohio restaurants have closed and many more are at a breaking point, pleading with Gov. Mike DeWine to extend the current 10 pm curfew until midnight.
The curfew has had a “tremendously negative impact” on the restaurant industry.
The President and CEO of the Ohio Restaurant Association John Barker said many businesses may not survive through the end of 2020 in an ORA Business Impact Update on October 8.
COVID regulations forced restaurants to expend thousands of dollars on dining room partitions, cleaning, masks for employees, signs and other added safeguards.
At the same time, restaurant capacities were reduced and remain at reduced limits. This put spring and early summer sales down by thousands of dollars versus the same periods last year.
The 10 pm curfew was implemented on July 31.
Diane Hurd, vice president of Inspire PR Group, said the ORA
estimates about 10-15% of 23,000 Ohio restaurants have closed.
Hurd said it’s difficult to verify which closures are temporary and which are permanent.
Due to COVID-19 regulations, all Ohio bars and restaurants are prohibited from selling alcohol past 10 pm, and onsite consumption of alcohol must be finished by 11 p.m.
Barker said the curfew is having a “tremendously negative impact on sales, profits and employee income.”
The association requested that the curfew be pushed back to midnight in a September 22 letter to the Governor. On Thursday, DeWine told ORA board members and industry leaders that he has not yet made a decision.
Contact tracing data that shows spread and transmission at restaurants was requested by the ORA, but public health officials have so far not provided this information, according to information released by the ORA.
The ORA recommends restaurant and bar owners and operators write, email and call the Governor’s office to professionally express the impact this is having on your business and employees.