By BRET BEVENS
Southern Ohio Today
Local restaurants are doing their part to abide by Gov. Mike DeWine’s call for more vigilance against the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced a statewide mask mandate last week and the new order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday.
DeWine said if cases and other COVID trends continue to increase, the state will be forced to close restaurants, bars and fitness centers. His team will look at the trends Thursday and make a decision.
The governor indicated he understood the burden this will place on owners and employees of such businesses, but said these are places where it is difficult or impossible to maintain mask-wearing, which he said is critical in slowing the spread of the virus.
“Our reaction is we’re doing the best we can,” said Jason Poetker, a bartender at Arch & Eddie’s restaurant in Jackson. “We stick with it, wear a mask and be as safe as we can.”
Amy from Jerry’s Pizza in Chillicothe, an employee who did not want to offer her last name, said the business has not and will not let anyone enter without a mask. She said it is not only a requirement but helps prevent employees from contracting the virus.
Will Mault is a co-owner of the Scioto River in Portsmouth. He said his restaurant is doing its part to abide by the governor’s mandate.
“Well we go with whatever is recommended by the state government,” Mault said. “We follow the rules and we play by the rules.”
When addressing the possibility of being shut down again, while not endorsing the idea, Mault said he understands the governor’s concern for safety.
“If that benefits us all, it’s just a necessity that we have to deal with,” he said.
The order states that all persons are required to wear a facial covering at all times when they are in or on the premises of a retailer.
The order also requires retailers to post “clearly visible signage” at every entrance requiring anyone entering to wear a facial covering. Many local businesses already have such signage.
DeWine also said inspectors will be sent into businesses to ensure businesses comply with the order. A first offense will carry only a warning for the business, but a second violation could result in the business being closed for up to 24 hours.