“We are seeing a very negative impact due to the 10 p.m. restriction,” said Dan Apolito, co-founder of Archer’s Tavern, which operates locations in Centerville and Kettering. “Not only are guests not coming in after 10 p.m., we are seeing a considerable reduction in guest counts beginning around 8 p.m. It’s affecting bartenders, servers and cooks who rely on the last few hours of the day to make money. We are now closing at 10:30 instead of midnight on weekends because there is little to no business during times when our bar area used to be full.”
Tieber noted that most chain restaurants close by 10 p.m., and thus “are barely affected by this restriction on operating hours. Locally owned businesses are the most affected because they rely on the weekend sales to effectively make a profit. ... Weekend sales are the lifeline to our industry.”
Sales at Club Evolution, a dance nightclub in downtown Dayton, are down 80% since the 10 p.m. alcohol sales curfew took effect, Michael Manes, the club’s general manager, told this news outlet.
“We have seen no data that suggests these restrictions have done anything to impede the spread of COVID-19,” Manes said. “Furthermore, no data was ever presented by the state of Ohio that proved operating without liquor sales restrictions increased the spread of COVID-19. We definitely support the restaurant association’s request” to extend the sales curfew to midnight, Manes said.
Diane Spitzig, owner of downtown Dayton’s Century Bar, said her nationally recognized bourbon destination has to turn away potential customers at 9:30 p.m. for social-distancing reasons, “as everyone is rushing to get drinks before the curfew.”
“If they could dine later and stop in for their after-dinner drink later, we wouldn’t lose those customers,” Spitzig said.
Moving back the current 10 p.m. curfew for the sale of alcohol “is a critical priority,” the Ohio Restaurant Association president said in his letter to DeWine.
“We feel strongly about making this change as soon as possible,” Barker said, noting that political gridlock in Washington D.C. scuttled recent attempts at a second federal aid package. In addition, COVID-19 cases have leveled, hospitalizations have declined and the positivity rate for COVID-19 testing has dropped, Barker said.
“It is also worth noting that as professional and college sports are regularly back on TV, other states, including our border states of Kentucky and Pennsylvania, are moving their curfews later and loosening some other restrictions,” he said.
Gov. DeWine has yet to respond to the Ohio Restaurant Association’s request.