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Time to end curfew

We are glad to see Gov. Mike DeWine’s decision to relax the COVID-19 curfew by one hour, but we’ll be even more pleased when it goes away completely.

That’s because it has produced few if any measurable results in combating spread of COVID-19.

DeWine first announced Ohio’s curfew on Nov. 19 amid speculation that he was considering a second business shutdown.

Since then, the curfew has been extended three times. It had been set to expire Saturday before DeWine said he would relax the curfew by an hour.

The initial curfew required “non-essential” businesses to be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. Beginning Thursday, the curfew moved to 11 p.m.

DeWine promised to move the curfew to 11 p.m. if the state saw fewer than 3,500 COVID-19 hospitalizations for seven consecutive days. Now he says if hospitalizations remain fewer than 3,000 for seven straight days, Ohioans will be rewarded with a curfew of midnight. After two more weeks, if the number of hospitalizations remain below 2,500 for seven consecutive days, the curfew would be lifted.

Sadly, bars and other mostly small businesses deemed “non-essential” are suffering from these arbitrary benchmark assignments. These small businesses are most essential to their owners and to the many servers, cooks and other employees who count on business to pay the bills.

As health experts have repeatedly stated, masks, social distancing and hand washing are the most effective ways to combat COVID-19. Nowhere in those rules does it indicate this virus spreads more readily after dark.

We challenge the governor to show us how this curfew has helped slow the spread of COVID-19, because Ohio businesses certainly can show us how badly it has hurt their livelihoods.

It’s time to do away with this ineffective curfew and instead focus on following other rules that are more meaningful in the control of this virus but that don’t significantly affect the livelihoods of those who rely on all business — including the sales that come after dark.

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