COLUMBUS, Ohio (Cincinnati Enquirer) - Gov. Mike DeWine says he can’t exempt Cincinnati from Ohio’s order closing bars early and won’t lift it statewide.
Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac and Mayor John Cranley had asked DeWine to exempt Cincinnati from the state’s 10 p.m. last call order. They argued that the restriction, meant to curb the novel coronavirus pandemic, was spurring a rash of violent crime.
Cincinnati police have responded to 70 homicides this year. That’s compared to 73 homicides in all of 2019. Shootings are up 50% this year compared with the same time frame in 2019, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Isaac argued that much of the city’s violence occurred at after-hour gatherings such as Airbnb rentals or public areas serving as alternatives to bars, which are more regulated.
Ultimately, DeWine’s attorneys advised him that his administration can’t exempt one city from the statewide order closing bars early, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“Our lawyers tell us we cannot legally cut Cincinnati out,” DeWine told reporters Thursday. “The only other option is to change it for the whole state. We have other mayors that are adamant in telling me, ‘Please, please don’t do that.’”
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther are among those who support the order. Whaley told The Enquirer that limiting bar hours is important as college students return to campuses.
The result: DeWine won’t rescind the order statewide, but he’s willing to help Cincinnati in other ways.
“We certainly are very open to working with the mayor and the chief if there’s anything else we can do,” DeWine said.
The governor encouraged Ohio’s GOP-controlled Legislature to pass stiffer penalties for people who use guns despite being banned from having a firearm. Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, told Cleveland.com that he didn’t intend to pass DeWine’s entire package of gun proposals, according to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“I just ask the Legislature to please help us on this. I don’t know who’s against this. This protects the Second Amendment,” he said. “These people don’t have a right to have a gun anyway.”