If you thought 2021 was going to be different from 2020, you thought wrong—at least for the first two days of it. On Thursday, Gov. Mike DeWine extended the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. statewide curfew that was set to expire until Jan. 2, 2021.
Brendan Kearney with Lago East Bank said he saw the curfew extension coming and understands where the governor is coming from, but said it’s still a hard pill to swallow.
“The writing’s been on the wall,” he said. “It’s just been devastating really in the long run. We are struggling through the season, as it is right now, and then having to miss the opportunities that come with Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Years Eve.”
In a press conference Thursday, DeWine said he is extending the curfew into the new year because he believes the curfew, among with other factors, is having an impact on the case count.
“If you can reduce contact, you're going to, statistically, reduce the spread of the virus. So if you can cut down on the time that people are out mingling, you're going to knock it down,” DeWine said.
Scott Frank, a professor at Case Western Reserve University and the director of Case’s public health initiative, said there’s nothing particularly special about 10 p.m., it’s just DeWine’s way of striking a balance.
“Curfews are a mechanism to decrease unhealthy super spreader behaviors without as much intrusion on daily life as shutting down businesses or having more vigorous shut downs in society,” Frank said.
Frank said when businesses stop serving alcohol early, it can limit reckless behaviors.
“Some of the businesses that have traditionally stayed open late are the kind of businesses where it's harder to control the behaviors of the people in your establishment,” he said. “The more they drink, the more likely they are to be reckless in their behavior and those reckless behaviors by the sorts that not only put them at risk, but puts everybody around them at risk, as well.”
While the curfew begins at 10 p.m., Kearney said, for most restaurants, they have to stop seating customers around 9 p.m.
“You’re taking away, especially for a restaurant like Lago, a very large portion of our market shares and our sales and you’re scaring away people earlier,” Kearney said.
He said Lago does have a backup plan for New Year’s Eve.
“New Year’s that we can bring to your house, through carry out, and try to go that route,” he said
Kearney is hopeful that 2021 will bring some sort of resolution to the struggles that restaurants faced in 2020.
“We are going to get through this and it’s something we all have to band together,” he said.