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Columbus Council Approves Police Reforms, Early Bar And Restaurant Closures

Jul 28, 2020

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Columbus City Council last night approved legislation requiring bars and restaurants to close at 10 pm starting tonight due to the covid-19 pandemic. 

Establishments may operate curbside pickup services until 11pm. The move follows complaints from the public and health officials who say the establishments were not following facial covering and social distancing rules.   Columbus Health Commissioner Mysheika Roberts said since the city began re-opening on June 1st, there has been a 220 percent increase in COVID-19 cases, with many of the new patients in the 20 to 29 age group:

"Our team when they go out to do these compliance checks, we see a change in behavior really starting around 10 o'clock and it gets worse as the evening goes on," Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts said. "Asking restaurants to close any earlier than that, we really don't have noncompliance data to support that locally. When we talk to our peers across the country and our federal partners, 10 o'clock seems like a reasonable hour. People can still have dinner where they are sitting down with their small group. But we're really trying to avoid that crowding and congregating, where a lot of the virus is easily spread when we're congregating in those groups in close quarters without wearing a mask consuming beverages."       

State health officials Monday reported 1,055 new cases of COVID-19 and 37 new deaths. The state now has 86,028 cases and 3344 deaths. Council also approved putting a proposed charter change on the November ballot to create a civilian board to review police conduct.  Council also approved more requirements for no-knock warrants, police background checks and demilitarizing the force.