COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Gov. Mike DeWine announced Sunday afternoon that all restaurants and bars will close for the immediate future to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
All restaurants with delivery and carry-out options will remain open, DeWine said.
DeWine said he came to the decision after being contacted by citizens around the state sharing photos and stories of crowded bars Saturday night, despite warnings of social distancing and the governor’s edict limiting crowds to no larger than 100 people.
“Based upon all of this and based upon the fact of where we are at this point, in this pandemic — we are literally at a crucial, crucial, crucial stage — Dr. Acton will be signing an order that all bars in the state and all restaurants will close at 9 o’clock tonight,” DeWine said.
The governor added he does not know how long the closure will last.
“Carry-out food is still allowed and certainly encouraged,” DeWine said.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced Sunday during the press conference that bars and restaurants can return their unopened high-proof liquors.
Bars and restaurants will take their unopened liquor to the agency where it was purchased. The agency would then call the Liquor Enterprise Center for approval. Husted said approval would be immediate, but that a record of the return was necessary.
DeWine will also sign an executive order allowing employees without paid leave benefits to access unemployment benefits during the emergency, Husted announced.
People quarantined by a health professional or by their employer will be considered unemployed, Husted added. They will not be held to the requirements to seek employment during this period.
“This will assist Ohio workers directly impacted by the COVID-19 health emergency,” Husted said.
For more information on the unemployment plan, click here.
During an appearance on NBC’s Meet The Press earlier on Sunday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he is considering closing bars and restaurants as the state fights the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
When asked by host Chuck Todd if he is considering closing bars and restaurants, DeWine said he is looking into the possibility.
“We started off last week closing the schools,” DeWine said. “We’ve reduced the number of people gathered together to 100. We’ve restricted access to our nursing homes, to our prisons, so we’re taking tough steps.”
The Ohio Department of Health announced 37 confirmed cases of the virus in Ohio Sunday, up 10 from Saturday’s numbers. There are also 361 people under investigation, up from 264 Saturday.