Restaurants relieved, critic condemns DeWine curfew order

Restaurants relieved, critic condemns DeWine curfew order

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine won praise from relieved restaurant owners Tuesday when he dropped plans for a shutdown of bars, fitness centers, and restaurants statewide in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. John Barker, President of the Ohio Restaurant Association, joined DeWine at the governor’s briefing to thank him for avoiding an order that would stifle daytime operations. “Our board of directors are in support of your announcement today about the 21-day curfew and we are all committed to do our part to control the spread of COVID-19,” Barker said. He had said earlier that any closure of restaurants would have a devastating effect on them.

DeWine’s order will require most businesses to close from 10 pm to 5 am starting at 10 pm Thursday. There are some exceptions, including gas stations, grocery stores, and pharmacies. Also, people going to and from work are permitted to be out, along with people getting food or traveling for emergencies. Otherwise, DeWine says people must be at home after 10 p.m.

Content Continues Below

Who is going to enforce the order? DeWine said potentially police and sheriff’s deputies will enforce the order with the penalty being a possible $750 fine and 90 days in jail. DeWine said, however, he expects in most cases people caught violating the order will not be found in violation but instead will simply be told by police to “go home.”

The response from critics has been swift and brutal. Rep. Jena Powell, R- Arcanum, has become one of DeWine’s most vocal critics within the Republican Party. On Twitter within minutes after DeWine’s announcement, Powell said “This is ludicrous. We must pass SB 311. Ohio deserves better.” The bill she mentioned is pending before the Ohio House and puts new limits on the governor’s authority to issue health emergency orders.