(WKBN) – Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has held briefings for the past four days. On Saturday, he said there would be no Sunday briefing unless there was something significant.
As it turns out, the Governor had something to say to the owners of restaurants and bars Sunday.
DeWine started his briefing about issues he’s heard and pictures he’s received concerning large numbers of people gathering at bars.
And with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations starting, the governor stressed that large gatherings can’t take place.
DeWine says he had no choice but to make another hard decision.
“Dr. Acton will be signing an order that all bars in the state and all restaurants will close at nine o’clock tonight. How long this order will be in effect, we don’t frankly know,” DeWine said.
He also said that delivery and take-out is fine, that’s still allowed. He knows what it means to small business owners, plus waiters and bartenders.
“But I understand, have some idea, of the suffering, and I can’t tell you how sorry I am,” he said.
Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted said officials with Ohio’s Restaurant Association were consulted.
There will be a buyback program for bars that stocked up on liquor.
He also said the governor will sign an executive order changing Ohio’s unemployment compensation law.
“As state agency policy to enable workers who do not have paid leave benefits to access unemployment benefits during this period of emergency,” Husted said.
One reporter asked the governor why close bars and restaurants and not cancel the elections.
“It is not a mass gathering. It’s important for us to exercise our constitutional rights and to interrupt an election in the middle of it poses some very, very serious consequences,” said DeWine.
He says the data shows that delaying means everyday more people will die.
Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, says it’s serious.
“But please know, everyone, this is the real thing. This is not a drill. This is the once in a lifetime pandemic,” she said. “But we have to do what we have to do to save their lives, and not just their lives but the lives of others and our goal is for us to get through this.
The governor did not say specifically that there will be another briefing Monday, but in all probability he will.
It will likely be held between 2 and 3 p.m. and WKBN will carry it live both on Channel 27 and on our WKBN Mobile App.