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Cincinnati's Mayor: No Curfew Yet, City Supports Closing Bars, Restaurants

John Minchillo

John Cranley says he never thought he'd see bars and restaurants closed for St. Patrick's Day. The Cincinnati mayor says he's a proud Irish-American, but supports the decision in light of the threat of coronavirus. Ohio Governor Mike DeWine on Sunday ordered the closure of all bars and restaurants in the state until further notice, as a way of limiting the spread of COVID-19.

Mayor Cranley says Cincinnati will support the order. "It will have a major negative impact that we're aware of, but now's the time to listen to the experts. Now's not the time to second-guess the governor and (Ohio Department of Health director) Dr. (Amy) Acton. Now is the time that we have to come together to do what's right for the public health of all of our citizens."

Cranley says he's aware people will suffer economically, but he praised Governor DeWine for eliminating the one week delay in applying for unemployment benefits and encouraged Ohioans to apply.

"These are extraordinary times and we will get through them by helping each other," Cranley says.

Cincinnati's Recreation Centers will be closed as of Monday, "in the abundance of caution," according to a spokesperson. All centers will be closed except for those used as polling places on Tuesday. But Cranley says he expects the centers will be used.

He says a plan under consideration now eliminates activities at rec centers, "but keeping them for the purpose of after-school food delivery. Many of our kids after school go to rec centers and receive, in some cases, a meal."

On Monday, Cincinnati Public Schools is expected to announce details on food distribution for children.

Addressing rumors and questions about a possible curfew, Cranley says the city is not actively pursuing that now. "We're not going to surprise anybody. You're not going to end up at 5 o'clock and say there's a curfew at 6 o'clock. We are planning for all contingencies but we have no plans right now to issue a curfew but obviously this is changing by the day."

Cranley says a curfew is more likely to come from the governor or the president.

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Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio: and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.