“The Time for Persuasion and Public Appeals is Over” All Bars and Restaurants Closed in Illinois and Ohio

“All bars in the state, and restaurants, will close at 9pm tonight. How long this order will be in effect, we don’t–frankly–know…

…This is not just only a question about people dying, from this pandemic, from the Coronavirus. It is also a case that, if we do not act and stop–break up these groups–and get some distance, our healthcare system in the State of Ohio will not hold up.”

Governor Mike DeWine
Ohio

Everything you need to know about Corona Virus in the hospitality industry can be found here.

This is a developing story and will be updated throughout the day.

Update: Massachusetts has closed all bars and restaurants for 3 weeks. The CDC is recommending all gatherings be limited to 50 or fewer people for 8 weeks.

Governor DeWine is the first governor to close all bars and restaurants in a US State. Citing the need to keep people apart from each other, DeWine told a nearly empty room on Sunday at 2pm, that all bars and restaurants would be closed until further notice.

The Governor stated that carry-out would be allowed, but that public gatherings would be prohibited. The governor stated that, “We have some restaurants that deliver food, maybe more that will be delivering food now. So, those are still open, the restaurant can stay open. That can take place, and we hope it does take place.”

The Governor clarified several times that restaurants were allowed to be open for delivery, but that seating would not be allowed. At one point the governor stated that, “If you can walk in, and buy a doughnut, buy coffee, and walk out, that’s okay. What we can’t have is people who are congregating and people who are seated.”

DeWine acknowledged that this will severely impact the business community and those working in the hospitality industry, and has some plan to mitigate the “suffering” of those in the industry in Ohio.

Lt. Governor Jon Husted said that they worked with business owners and the Restaurant Association to draft the economic plans to help the service industry. He also stressed that delivery and carryout would be allowed, and asked the public to utilize these services instead of going to grocery stores.

The Governor will sign an executive order regarding unemployment insurance, which will help service industry workers, “who do not have paid leave benefits to access unemployment benefits during this period of emergency.” Further, the state policy will be expanded to clarify that individuals, “that are quarentined by a health professional or by their employer will be considered to be unemployed and will not be required to actively seek work during the period of this emergency.”

Additionally, Husted stated that, “This will also apply to companies that determine it is necessary to temporarily shut down operations due to the current emergency.” In the executive order, the state will be waiving the one week delay on unemployment benefits, meaning workers will be eligible immediately for payment.

Husted also clarified that the cost of these benefits would, “be mutalized” so as not to penalize individual bars and restaurants. Penalties will be waived for employers for late reporting for the next quarter as well.

The Governor of Illnois, J.B. Pritzker, ordered that all bars and restaurants be closed, “at the end of business Monday night, through March 30th.”

However, the governor did not say that kitchens would be allowed to be open, as they are in Ohio stating, “We are working with restaurant owners and food delivery services across the state to see if restaurants can safely keep their kitchens open, so that restaurants can continue to food delivery to people at their homes.” Strangely, he did say that drive thru and curbside pick-up would be allowed

The Governor admonished the people of Illinois–and bar owners–by saying, “I tried earlier this week to appeal to everyone’s good judgement to stay home, to avoid bars, not to congregate in crowds. It’s unfortunate that many people did not take that seriously. The time for persuasion and public appeals is over.”

Sam Toya, president of the Illinois Restaurant Association, stated that the association was working with state and local officials to, “help employees and employers address concerns around the temporary two week shut down caused by CoVid-19.”

Toya stated that the association was informed today that this closure would be happening to help contain the spread of the virus and that the association would continue to advocate for relief for employees and employers during the shut down.

Long term loan interest loans are being offered to businesses so that they can continue operation throughout this crisis. Governor Pritzker stated that he was in contact with several other governors, specifically with the Governor of Washington, citing that state as a major source for his decision.

California Governor Gavin Newsom threatened the hospitality industry in the state today during a press conference on the state of CoVid 19, saying that neighborhood bars should close their doors to help stop the spread of the virus. There is no mandate at this time, though the governor did say that he will use his power to close the service industry if he must.

State leadership in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Washington, and Michigan have all expressed they are willing to take the same measures as Ohio and Illinois.

An article in the Denver Post anticipates that there could be a nationwide shut down of all “non-essential” activities for 14 days, similar to what we have seen across Europe.

It is this publication’s opinion that it is now a matter of when, not if, restaurants across the country will be forced to close for the foreseeable future.

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