Salem bar owner wonders if 10 p.m. last call is truly effective against COVID-19


Regardless, Sue Baddeley fully understands the importance of keeping customers safe during the pandemic

SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – It has been two months since Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced the ban on alcohol sales past 10 pm. It has gotten to the point where at least one bar owner in Salem — and likely others as well — is concerned about her livelihood.

“We need to get back open,” said Sue Baddeley, owner of Fernengels Tavern.

Baddeley and her husband own Fernengels. Just like other bar owners, she has experienced struggles throughout the pandemic. But when Gov. DeWine told bars and restaurants they can’t serve alcohol past 10 p.m., she was upset.

“That was a disaster because right then and there, I knew everything was changing, again,” she said.

A large portion of her crowd comes in the evening, but customers who used to come in late don’t feel it’s worth it anymore.

“So people now are not wanting to even to come out because they know they have to leave at 10 p.m.,” Baddeley said.

She said she just doesn’t understand the idea behind the law.

“We don’t know why we can’t be open full time because you’re getting the same reaction at 10 at night as you’re getting at five in the daytime,” Baddeley said.

Fernengels Tavern still has bills to pay. They would also like to fix up a few areas or make updates. But, they aren’t getting the cash needed. So, Baddeley has one main question she wants an answer to.

“We just need to know when is it going to be lifted, so we can survive,” she said.

The Ohio Restaurant Association has asked Gov. DeWine to move last call to midnight. He says he will look at the idea.

Regardless, Baddeley fully understands the importance of keeping customers safe during the pandemic.

“You still sanitize, you still keep distancing, you don’t do an overflow. You use common sense,” she said.

If things continue this way, Baddeley said they could lose the bar in two months.

Baddeley added that it makes her sick to her stomach to see her customers leave at the end of the night. Before the pandemic, on a normal Thursday night, she would do about $1,200 to $1,500 profit. Now, it’s only about $400.

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