COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said officials will do “whatever we have to do” to enforce social distancing and other protective measures if bars and restaurants fail to restrain crowds as the state eases coronavirus measures.
DeWine said he had seen images of a packed Columbus restaurant-bar over the weekend.
“The good news is that the ownership, people running the bar, seem to get control of it last night,” he said Sunday during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“We didn’t have to issue any citations,” he said, dding that another Columbus bar had been cited.
A Columbus Public Health spokeswoman told the Columbus Dispatch, however, that repeated warnings were issued Saturday about overcrowding at the same restaurant-bar and a complaint was referred to the city attorney. The establishment’s management wrote on Facebook that after “a positive interaction” with police, fire, and health officials, it would ask customers “to stay seated at their tables and be cognizant of the distance between themselves and other groups.”
“Ultimately, it’s going to come to Ohioans doing what Ohioans have done for the last two months, and that is, by and large, done exactly what they should do, try to keep the distance,” DeWine said.
DeWine press secretary Dan Tierney said operators of businesses disregarding safety guidelines “are being irresponsible and need to understand that these guidelines will be enforced.” Most Ohio bars and restaurants did “their part to follow best practices to keep patrons safe and socially distanced,” he said.
There are concerns about reports of establishments not operating in accord with the governor’s guidelines, the Ohio Restaurant Association wrote in an email to members Saturday evening. But the organization said it is likely that “these are isolated incidents and not reflective of our industry’s overall positive response to reopening safely.”
Here are the latest coronavirus-related developments in Ohio:
The number of confirmed and probable deaths associated with the coronavirus in Ohio has reached 1,625, state health officials said Sunday.
The Ohio Department of Health posted information indicating that 1,472 deaths had been confirmed and another 153 were considered probable under guidelines issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health officials said more than 26,200 cases had been confirmed and the number of confirmed and probable cases was nearing 28,000.
For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.