Mayor Ginther Orders Columbus Bars & Restaurants To Close Early Due To Increased COVID-19 Community Spread

The streets of downtown during what should be rushhour.

Starting Tuesday evening, bars, restaurants, and night clubs in Columbus will be closing early.

Mayor Andrew Ginther and Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Robers have asked Columbus City Council to approve legislation that would restrict hours of operations for the city’s bars and restaurants.

The ordinance will require bars and restaurants to close at 10 p.m. each night beginning on July 28.

“Our city like many others across the country are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, and there is clear evidence of community spread – especially indoors in places where groups are gathering,” Ginther said. “We’re also seeing a clear increase among younger people, and we know that bars and nightclubs have been the source of outbreaks locally. We need to take steps now to help stop the spread of the virus. We all need to do better for the health and safety of our neighbors.”

Closing bars and restaurants early will help limit exposure to COVID-19, which has seen an increase in community spread.

“We are at a critical point in our fight against COVID-19 which continues to spread and increase in our community,” Dr. Roberts said. “We must use every tool at our disposal to prevent the spread of disease. Shortening the time that people gather in groups will help reduce the risk not only to those who participate, but the entire community. This reduction – along with face coverings, social distancing and handwashing – will help protect health and save lives.”

The new order won’t impact outdoor dining or carry out operations. The new order will be enforced with a warning for the first violation a $500 for the second violation, and $1,000 for subsequent offenses. Repeated violations could even lead to injunctive action to close the bar or restaurant.

Columbus has been identified, along with 10 other cities, by the White House Coronavirus Task Force as a potential hot spot. The task force has urged the city to take “aggressive” steps to combat the spread of COVID-19. Columbus Public Heath says they may recommend additional measures to prevent community spread based on data, science, and established best practices.

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