COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Mayor Andrew Ginther and Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts’ call on city council to limit bar, nightclub, and restaurant hours is getting mixed reviews from those who work in the industry.
“We think it’s a good idea. We’re happy with it,” said Amanda Mitchell.
Mitchell is a server at Arch City Tavern in the Short North where Abby Nikiforovs is a bartender. When it first reopened, it was open until 2:30 a.m on weekends like usual. But they say during those later hours they were having some issues with social distancing so after just a couple of weeks the hours were scaled back to 11 p.m.
“After 11 it’s mostly just people looking to drink a lot, maybe too much and they forget to wear a mask or they forget to use hand sanitizer or they get a little angry,” said Nikiforovs. “So, I think it’s a good idea to stop people from going out after 11.”
If City Council approves the ordinance on Monday, it would go into effect Tuesday. All bars, nightclubs, and restaurants in the city would be required to close by 11 p.m.
Mayor Ginther says some outbreaks have come from local bars and nightclubs. People do not have to wear masks when eating and drinking. By limiting the hours the idea is people would spend less time in settings like that and Dr. Roberts says it would also shorten the amount of time people spend in groups.
“It’s really discouraging to see that it’s all being put on the bars’ backs as to where this thing is supposedly spreading but I also understand there are some bad apples out there that have shown evidence that aren’t abiding by the rules,” said Quin Allen, Owner of Zeno’s in Harrison West.
Allen’s bar is regularly open until 2 a.m. and he says the ordinance would hurt business.
“11:00 on, that’s going to be at least 70 percent of our business cut if not more and it’s going to be pretty detrimental,” he said.
He would rather see an ordinance that doesn’t group together establishments that are cooperating with ones that are not. He also worries if the ordinance passes, people will have more house parties.
“You could have a house party of 30-plus people. They’re not being told to stay 10 people to a table, they’re not being told to wear masks when they get up from their seat, they don’t have hand sanitizing laid out throughout the house,” he said. “Our staff actively polices this entire crowd to make sure we’re well within our regulations because if we don’t, we could have our liquor license and livelihood in jeopardy but if you’re at a house with somebody you’ve got nothing to lose.”
NBC4 asked a spokesperson for the mayor how long the ordinance would be in place if it passes and was told, “Until we lift it – based on science and data.”