After Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine lifted the statewide curfew that was in place to decrease the spread of COVID-19 on Feb. 11, some individuals in Athens are expecting bars to get busier than before.
With the absence of the curfew, establishments are now able to stay open for regular business hours, but will still have to follow COVID-19 guidelines.
“The curfew did not feel like it was strictly enforced,” Noah Boswell, a junior studying strategic leadership and management and business analytics said in an email. “Some businesses were still open after the curfew hours. The only thing that changed was that some places closed earlier.”
However, some establishments enforced the curfew more than others.
Caitlyn Edwards, a server at The Pub, said her establishment tried to comply with all COVID-19 regulations, even if it may have hurt business.
“We try to be one of the stricter bars Uptown, because we honestly can't afford to sit there and get a citation,” Edwards said. “I don't understand people that try to argue with us about it. I'd rather lose their business of their two drinks that they're going to get versus paying a $5,000 fine.”
Despite the curfew’s purpose being to stop the spread of COVID-19, Cat Tillis, a sophomore studying environmental and plant biology, said in some situations it seemed to do the opposite.
“Most of the time, I thought it was pointless for everything except bars, clubs, and restaurants,” Tillis said in an email. “For example, the grocery store nearest to me closed early this season, which correlated to more people concentrated within fewer hours shopping, the opposite of what was needed.”
Additionally, some people did not feel impacted by the curfew at all.
“The curfew didn't change much that I was doing,” Boswell said in an email. “I worked and would hang out with friends after. Not much changed in my personal life.”
However, Edwards saw a change in the behaviors of people coming to The Pub due to the curfew.
“I would say people started going out a lot earlier in the day and would day drink more than they would be out at night,” Edwards said. “A lot of people just adjusted for that and then when the curfew went away, not a lot of people really knew what to do.”
Now that the curfew is no longer in place, Tillis and Edwards both predict an increase in people attending bars.
“I think we'll get busier later on in the night than we were before,” Edwards said. “When the curfew was in place, everybody was coming in earlier at 5 or 6 p.m. to start drinking. Now that the curfew isn't there anymore, it's not flooded. People are actually going back to kind of how it was before, not going out until 10 p.m., because they know they have more time to prepare themselves and everything.”
Lucky’s Sports Tavern, 11 N. Court St., may make changes as a result of the curfew being lifted. The bar may look to hire more employees depending on how its current staff is able to adapt to the new hours, according to a previous Post report.