DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Ohio Restaurant Association sent a letter to Governor DeWine Wednesday asking the state to extend the alcohol sales curfew to midnight, and some Dayton restaurants and bars say this would be a big help for business.
Tender Mercy Cocktail Bar opened just before the pandemic, when they were finally able to reopen, they were at 40 percent capacity because of state guidelines. When the 10 p.m. alcohol sale curfew hit, it cut half of their business.
“It’s an urgent situation,” Tender Mercy managing partner Chris Dimmick said. “You know, a lot of us have been able to keep our head above water, but that will not continue to happen indefinitely.”
Cocktails to-go and other creative events have helped Tender Mercy stay afloat the past few months, but as with most bar and restaurants, they’re in need of some relief from restrictions.
President and CEO of the Ohio Restaurant Association (ORA) John Barker sent a letter to Governor DeWine asking for the alcohol curfew to be pushed from 10 p.m. to midnight.
“It’s really a tough time for restaurants and this is the time to make a smart move back in the other direction,” Barker said.
Barker said restaurants and bars are feeling the pressure of lowered capacity and purchasing p-p-e on top of paying bills.
Dublin Pub has increased its capacity using the Dayton’s pop-up patio program, but with cold weather nearing, owner Steve Tieber said an extended alcohol curfew could help in the winter months.
“It’s really important right for for us to be able to start building back some of that business because we’re going to be losing a lot more business,” Teiber said.
Barker said decreased sales have been a big issue for Ohio’s restaurants.
“80 percent of all restaurants in Ohio said they are not going to break even,” Barker said. “Nobody gets in the business to lose money.”
Barker said because Ohio’s positivity rate has dropped and contact tracing data does not show a huge spread in restaurants, that it’s safe to extend the hours of alcohol sales.
“We wouldn’t be asking for this if we thought it wasn’t possible to operate safely and to obviously be able to get these businesses back in a little better position they were in just a few months ago,” Barker said.
The ORA is urging Governor DeWine to make the change as quickly as possible.
2 NEWS has reached out to the Governor’s office for a response to the letter and have not heard back.
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