COLUMBUS (WCMH, WYTV) — Because of declining hospitalization numbers, Ohio’s stateside curfew will start at 11 p.m. beginning Thursday, the office of Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday.
An official from DeWine’s office confirmed that since hospitalization numbers have stayed below 3,500 for seven consecutive days that the start time of the curfew will be pushed later under a new policy that DeWine outlined on Tuesday.
Johnny Coury, vice president of Aqua Pazzo in Boardman, said he’s glad they will be able to service more guests.
Coury said they are already getting calls asking for late dinner reservations, and they had to scramble staff to keep the restaurant running for an extra hour.
“It’s going to be amazing. Rather than having last seating at 9 p.m., the last seating might be 10. It’ll give us extra seating at the end of each night, and extra seating is quite important in the restaurant business,” Coury said.
The change will also give them more time between tables to make sure customers get the experience they want, without drinks being taken away by 10.
The curfew, which began Nov. 19, had been starting at 10 p.m. It will continue to run through 5 a.m.
Under the new policy for phasing out the curfew:
- After seven straight days of hospitalizations below 3,500, the curfew will begin at 11 p.m. and run at least two weeks
- After seven straight days of hospitalizations below 3,000, the curfew will begin at midnight and run at least two weeks
- After seven straight days of hospitalizations below 2,500, the curfew will end.
Dr. Jim Kravec said even with this news, we shouldn’t take our feet off the gas.
“That’s a positive, but it doesn’t change the fact that when they are doing that, we still need to follow social distancing and mask-wearing while we are there in that extra hour of time. It would set us back otherwise.”
Here are confirmed COVID-19 patient counts for the past eight days:
- Jan. 20: 3,556
- Jan. 21: 3,382
- Jan. 22: 3,270
- Jan. 23: 3,125
- Jan. 24: 3,009
- Jan. 25: 3,037
- Jan. 26: 2,963
- Jan. 27: 2,944
The curfew has been unpopular with bars and restaurants, whose industry has suffered from closing early in addition to having fewer customers because of the coronavirus pandemic. But DeWine said a main reason for instituting a curfew was to keep the hospital system from becoming overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
In recent days, those hospitalization numbers have started to come down. When DeWine announced the new policy Tuesday, hospitalizations had been declining every day since Jan. 18.
A new curfew order from DeWine is expected Wednesday or Thursday, making the change official.