COLUMBUS, Ohio — Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton are holding a news conference with the latest information on the state's response to COVID-19.
DeWine spoke at length about the reopening of Ohio's bars and restaurants for outdoor dining, which started on Friday. Those establishments had been shut down for months to stop the spread of the coronavirus. In order to conduct business again, the businesses must adhere to strict social distancing guidelines, including spacing out tables at least six feet apart and limiting the number of customers on the premises.
The governor says the vast majority of restaurants are "doing an amazingly good job" following these protocols. However, there were also outliers, notably Standard Hall in Columbus and Lago East Bank in Cleveland. Photos at both locations showed customers shoulder-to-shoulder on patios, with little (if any) concern being given to social distancing.
Moving forward, DeWine says state health and law enforcement officials will surge in to conduct safety compliance checks in crowded bars and restaurants. Those that do not follow state protocols could receive administrative citations that could result in the revocation of liquor licenses. "Further, we will work with municipal prosecutors to take potential criminal actions against these bad actors," DeWine added.
The Ohio Department of Health reports there are more than 28,000 cases of coronavirus in Ohio. 1,657 people in the state have died.
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