COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state’s ban on alcohol sales after 10 p.m. is under review and aid could be on the way to small businesses hurt by the economic slowdown during the coronavirus pandemic, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday.
The Republican governor said he understands the impact the ban — meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus by limiting late-night socializing — is having on bars and restaurants. He said mayors of big cities have asked that it stay in place, but acknowledged at least one mayor wants it lifted.
Earlier this month, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and Police Chief Eliot Isaac asked DeWine to lift the ban, concerned it’s contributing to a spike in violence by pushing people with guns into public and private places.
DeWine said reviewing the ban means balancing the economy and people’s health. Though Ohio is struggling to reduce its daily coronavirus infection rate of around 1,000 cases, the state hasn’t had a flare-up like other states, the governor said.
“What we constantly have to evaluate is how this hurts small business, versus what it does if we expand the hours with regard to potential spread,” DeWine said.
Without providing details, DeWine also said he’s talking with legislative leaders about “some specific help for small businesses, some specific help with regards to people who pay rent,” with an announcement expected soon. Messages were left with the House speaker and Senate president.
During the governor’s twice weekly briefing, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted promoted a new, free training program to help unemployed workers gain skills to apply for high-tech jobs. Husted also highlighted a study that says Ohio ranks 10th on a list of states’ progress in getting back to normal.
But Husted also said he recognized the state’s continued unemployment woes are an ongoing challenge.
Both initial claims for unemployment and continuing claims rose slightly in the last week as the impact of the pandemic on the economy continues, Ohio’s human services agency reported Sept. 24.
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