Gov. Mike DeWine has issued an order to close all Ohio bars and restaurants as of 9 p.m. Sunday, March 15 in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
"We are literally at a crucial, crucial, crucial stage," DeWine said today in a press conference, emphasizing that the order was designed to save lives.
That closure applies to dine-in situations only — you cannot sit and eat or drink in an establishment — but it does not ban carry-out service or delivery. Which means if you can go into a restaurant and grab a carry-out, that's allowed.
"You can walk in, buy a donut, buy a coffee, that's fine," DeWine said. "But we can't have people sitting and congregating. Carry-out is fine, delivery is fine. I have some idea of what this will do... there are small business owners this will hurt greatly."
At that conference, DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted both stressed the decision to shutter sit-in service at restaurants and bars was incredibly difficult, and that options are still available.
"It is the small businesses during an order like this that are hurt the worst," DeWine said. "I'm fully aware of that."
DeWine and Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton said they were trying to mitigate a coming surge in cases that will hit the state's health care system hard in the coming weeks.
"If we don't break up these groups and get some distance, our healthcare system in the state of Ohio will not hold up," DeWine said.
So if you are a local restaurant that hasn't previously offered carry-out (or delivery) and have decided to do so, let us know. Or if you are offering a certain carry-out special, let us know.
Email [email protected] with any details or specials (or reply to this on social media) so we can share with readers.
Note: If you are a small business owner, restaurant or bar, you can also watch the entire press conference at this link for more details — or get our highlights — regarding closures, unemployment and info about various relief options (example: bar or restaurant owners can return high-proof alcohol purchased within the last 30 days to the various state agencies where they were purchased; details on that are at ohlq.com).
Other updates and resources can be found at governor.ohio.gov.