Gov. Mike DeWine said he is prepared to “pull back” on Ohio’s reopening.
The governor made the remark Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
”Candidly, we’ve worked with the attorney general … and we’re going to do what we have to do if these things in fact occur across Ohio.”
He called the reopening the most crucial and dangerous time. Hospitalizations and deaths have been on a plateau for a month.
“Every employee in Ohio is wearing a mask … today,” DeWine said.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine reacts to photographs of crowded bars in his state: "Candidly, we've worked with the attorney general … and we're going to do what we have to do if these things in fact occur across Ohio."
Posted by CNN State of the Union on Sunday, May 17, 2020
Host Jake Tapper asked DeWine about the reopening of a Columbus bar named Standard Hall and showed a photo of a crowd on the patio. Tapper was quick to say the people did not appear to be wearing masks or to be practicing social distancing. Tapper asked if DeWine was concerned.
“Absolutely,” DeWine said.
The governor said the state did not issue any citations at Standard Hall, but did issue a citation at another bar.
The Columbus Dispatch said that is not the case, however.
Columbus Public Health spokeswoman Kelli Newman said — after DeWine spoke — that officials continually monitored Standard Hall on Saturday and issued repeated warnings about overcrowding.
The health department now has referred a complaint to City Attorney Zach Klein for investigation of possible action against the restaurant-bar, Newman said.
She also said a virus-precautions warning violation was issued to Saturday to Ugly Tuna on Chittenden Avenue.
With DeWine’s limits, restaurant shaming has quickly become a trend.
In an echo of the Standard Hall incident, the owner of Lago East Bank restaurant said he followed all the state’s guidelines and did his best to thin the crowds out Saturday, but still was called out over a photo of a crowded patio, The Plain Dealer reported.
“Lago took great care to implement every guideline that has been set by the State of Ohio,” owner Fabio Salerno said in a written statement. “There were times during our opening that tested those guidelines, and we took immediate measures to thin the ‘crowded’ areas. The pictures are one moment, one angle, one second of time.”
However, Salerno went on to say he does not believe “it is necessarily our responsibility to ‘control’” the restaurant’s patrons.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.