CLEVELAND — Last calls for alcohol officially came early Friday night as all liquor sales at bars and restaurants are now required to end at 10 p.m., according to a statewide emergency ruling approved by the Ohio Liquor Commission following Gov. Mike DeWine’s proposal to help curb the spread of coronavirus.
But some bar leaders are upset about seemingly having to take the blame for recent coronavirus outbreaks as DeWine and even white house leaders have reported. The state has not released any contact tracing data showing bars are a big part of the spread of coronavirus, but DeWine has said compliance officers have witnessed issues with overcrowding at some venues.
Local health officials have also expressed concerns with mask use amongst bar and restaurant customers.
“To see us be singled out as the restrictions just keep getting tighter and tighter on us while other industries continue to maintain, it’s hard to take sometimes,” said Brendan Kearney, Director of Operations at Lago East Bank. “As upset as we are about all this, our guests are upset as well.”
Kearney said his team spent Friday calling customers and canceling late night reservations.
“The people that come during those hours are people that kind of keep you afloat during this time,” he said. “I don’t think the volume is going to be there without the alcohol consumption later on in the evening.”
Crews at The Clevelander bar and Grill said it’s been a rough couple of days preparing for the new cutoff time.
“It’s definitely going to affect a lot of people like in this industry for sure,” said Devon Seper, Assistant Kitchen Manager at The Clevelander Bar and Grill.”
Seper agrees with the move, but said the constant changes make it hard to truly survive the pandemic.
“The way I look at it, it’s either we open up all the way or we close down."