COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine last week provided the following updates on Ohio’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alcohol sale and on-premises consumption limits
Governor DeWine announced today that he has asked the Ohio Liquor Control Commission to call an emergency meeting to consider enacting a statewide emergency rule to limit liquor sales at establishments that serve alcohol for on-site consumption.
The rule would prevent the sale of alcohol at these liquor-permitted establishments beginning at 10:00 p.m. each night. On-premises consumption must end by 11:00 p.m. Businesses may stay open, and establishments that sell food can continue serving meals until closing.
DeWine requested the new administrative rule after seeing outbreaks associated with bars across Ohio including Toledo, Cleveland, and Columbus.
“The problem is, bars, by their nature, lend themselves to a revolving door of people in close contact, oftentimes indoors, with interactions between many different people,” said Governor DeWine. “While this may have been fine during normal times, these are not normal times. We must make a change to curb the social behaviors that will cause this virus to continue to spread.”
DeWine is also asking the commission to raise the number of liquor and mixed drinks permitted to be purchased for carryout with a meal from two drinks to three drinks.
The Ohio Liquor Control Commission will hold its emergency meeting tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. If the emergency administrative rule is approved, Governor DeWine will sign an executive order making it effective tomorrow night.
Mass gathering order
DeWine said Ohio will separate its mass gathering guidance into its own order. Mass gathering guidance was most recently referenced as part of other orders, and combining this information into a stand-alone order will allow citizens to easily find guidance on holding gatherings in a safe manner.
Mass gatherings in Ohio remain limited to 10 people.
“We have seen cases in recent weeks where outbreaks have been connected to informal social gatherings like birthday parties, neighborhood gatherings, graduation parties, weddings, funerals, and gatherings at people’s homes,” said Governor DeWine. “The fact remains that this virus spreads when someone with the virus comes in contact with others who don’t yet have it. When we gather together with people outside our households, we increase the likelihood this virus can spread.”
The order will still permit Ohioans to go to work, worship, go to school, and acquire goods and services, however, this order will offer clear recommendations on safely holding gatherings.
Gatherings at a household or family residence should be limited to close friends and family and are recommended to be 10 visitors or less.
Residents in a red or purple county, as designated by the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, should limit hosting or attending gatherings of any size.
Wear a mask at all times at gatherings and maintain physical distance.
Use take out, outdoor dining, or indoor dining only when strict social distancing can be maintained.
Take extra precautions if you go to bars or nightclubs, where use of masks typically is inconsistent and drinking alcohol can lead to less social distancing.
Protect anyone with serious medical conditions at home by social distancing at home, wearing a mask, and using high levels of personal hygiene.
High-risk individuals should take extra precautions to limit the number of people they interact with.
Make the group of people you interact with most often as small as possible and make sure that they are taking appropriate COVID-19 precautions – even if you are just gathering with family friends or neighbors at your home.