NORTHERN KENTUCKY (FOX19) - Thursday night is a big night for football in the Tri-State with the Bengals taking on the Browns in Cleveland at 8:20 p.m.
A lot of people would normally watch that game in a bar and enjoy some adult beverages with friends.
But due to the pandemic, bars in Ohio must close at 11 p.m. with the last call at 10 p.m.
Across the Ohio River in Kentucky, last call is an hour later.
No matter who wins the game, Kentucky bar owners are the winners for now.
“The last call, last service will move from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. and the facility needs to be closed by midnight,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Tuesday.
The Boardroom, a bar in Newport, is expecting to benefit from the extra hour Thursday with the Bengals set to play in primetime.
“The extra hour is huge for us,” exclaims John Hayden. “Especially for the Bengals-Browns game. Everybody’s going to watch it but, who’s going to come to a bar if they’ve gotta leave by halftime? So, this is a blessing for us, and I think it will give us a busy night because of it.”
Hayden says it’s been a tough several months as a bar owner. Especially when the bars were forced to close for a second time at the end of July.
“I think some people are hesitant to come back,” continues Hayden. “Even with the reopening, I think a lot of people are concerned about the virus. We’ve added outdoor seating for that very reason.”
Hayden says he’s spoken to other Kentucky bar owners who are also excited to be on this side of the river.
Ohio bar owners were hopeful Gov. Mike DeWine would follow in Beshear’s lead.
“Mayor Cranley would like to see us do that, but we have other mayors in major cities in the state that do not want us to do that,” explained Gov. DeWine, “Cincinnati is in a unique position because people can go across the river.”
Gov. DeWine stood firm on that stance Thursday.
Bars and restaurants in Ohio must serve their final drink at 10 p.m. and be closed at 11 p.m. DeWine said he has no plans to change those hours anytime soon.
If that’s the case, this could mean more business for Kentucky bars as football season is only just beginning.
“The hours of the night game are crucial,” said Hayden. “Monday Night Football, baseball playoffs, all those types of things. If we can’t stay open till at least midnight we’re gonna lose those crowds because people are gonna stay home. Nobody wants to just stay for half the game.”