Mayor Ginther, Health Commissioner Ask Council to Limit Hours for Bars, Nightclubs and Restaurants
Mayor Andrew J. Ginther and Columbus Public Health
Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts will advance legislation to Columbus City
Council Monday, July 27, 2020, to place restrictions on the hours of operations
for bars, nightclubs and restaurants. The ordinance will require the impacted
businesses to close for operation at 10 p.m. each evening effective Tuesday,
July 28, 2020.
“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,” said Mayor Ginther.
“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.”
Based on recent data which shows an increase in diagnosed
cases of COVID-19, and increased positivity test rate indicating community
spread, and considering the guidance from Orders issued by the Ohio Department
of Health and Governor DeWine, Columbus Public Health determined it the best
interest of public health to place restrictions on bars, night clubs and
restaurants to limit exposure to COVID-19.
“We are at a critical point in our fight against COVID-19
which continues to spread and increase in our community,” says Health
Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts. “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
hand washing – will help protect health and save lives.”
The reduction of times of operation for bars, nightclubs and
restaurants can limit exposure because exemptions to existing public health
orders allow patrons to forgo face coverings for extended periods of time while
seated at bars and tables and eating and drinking. The new health order does
not limit the capacity of bars and restaurants so long as social distancing and
other mandated health precautions are maintained and does not impact outdoor
dining or carryout operations.
“We must do everything we can to cut down on community
spread of COVID-19,” said Council President Shannon Hardin. “Our public health
experts tell us that the later bars stay open, the fewer folks abide by social
distancing practices. Council is ready to take action to cut down on
opportunities for the virus to spread.”
Columbus Public Health will enforce the new order which will
include a warning for the first violation. A fine of $500 will be levied for a
second violation and $1,000 for subsequent offenses. Repeat violations may
subject owners/operators to injunctive action to close the establishment.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating consequences for
the residents of Columbus,” said Councilmember Priscilla Tyson, who chairs the
Health Committee. “We must do everything in our power to cut back viral
transmission, and that includes slowing the virus’ access to people in
congregate settings like bars and restaurants.”
The decision to advance the new order comes as COVID-19
cases have surged in a number of large cities across America and the nation as
a whole has seen a significant increase in positive tests in recent days.
Columbus is among 11 cities urged by the White House Coronavirus Task Force to
take “aggressive” steps to combat the spread of COVID-19. Columbus Public Heath
may recommend additional measures to prevent community spread based on data,
science and established best practices.