CINCINNATI — Gov. Mike DeWine extended Ohio's statewide curfew through Jan. 2, 2021, meaning Ohioans must remain at home from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m.
The decision is expected to have a major impact on bars and restaurants across Ohio during one of the industry’s most profitable times of the year.
“This is supposed to be the busiest time of year, but as you can see the streets around me just aren't as packed as they usually are during the holiday season,” Homemakers Bar co-owner Catherine Manabat said. “Bar owners say that, though they anticipated the order being extended, it doesn't hurt any less. It's just a different ballgame now.”
Homemakers Bar, on the corner of Walnut and East 13th Street in Over-The-Rhine, has only been open for a year and a half.
“We were just sort of getting into a rhythm,” Manabat said.
The business was hit hard by the first wave of COVID-19 restrictions. The National Restaurant Association said it expects that 10,000 restaurants across the country will close in the next three months – that’s on top of the 110,000 already shuttered amid the pandemic.
“It's a constant back and forth,” Sundry and Vice bartender Brinn Gordon said. “As a bartender, I've had to start working on this side of the river and the other side – OTR and Covington – just because the mandate's different between the states and you're never quite sure week to week what that's going to look like.”
She said said foot traffic has all but dried up.
“New Year's is one of our biggest nights and we can't even stay open until midnight, so I mean we're losing out an insane amount of money just on that night alone,” Gordon said.
She’s encouraging people to purchase to-go cocktails, buy gift cards or do anything they can to keep their favorite small businesses and its employees afloat.
“We're trying our best and it's hard. It's really, really hard right now,” Gordon said.
For some establishments, holding on to hope is what’s keeping them going.
“That's the biggest part,” Manabat said. “Hopefully, we're still here.”