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Restaurant Owners And Supporters Protest COVID-19 Restrictions

Chris Welter
Restaurant owners, workers and their supporters gathered in Beavercreek to protest the restrictions placed on their businesses.

Restaurant owners, workers and their supporters gathered Thursday night outside Wings Sports Bar and Grille in Beavercreek to protest the COVID-related restrictions placed on their businesses. They met with State Senator Bob Hackett and State Representative Rick Perales to voice their concerns.

Residents held signs that read “Save Our Small Businesses” and “No More Curfew,” referring to the 10 p.m. cutoff on alcohol sales in bars and restaurants in Ohio.

Patrick Reed, who owns Angie's Firehouse Tavern in Dayton, said the curfew has made his business lose $300 to $600 a night. Reed said he is on board with following safety guidelines, but thinks the safest place for people to drink is in a bar or restaurant where staff can enforce the rules.

“We don't quite understand why we've been targeted. We've been playing by the rules since day one. … They’re killing us. We’re treading water,” he said. “If this goes on much longer, we'll just be in the graveyard of broken dreams with a lot of other restaurants.”

Doug Finkle, owner of Julia’s Nite Club in Dayton, was one of the organizers of the event. He said the protest was a way to express to government officials that these restrictions are killing businesses. He said he has applied for loans for his business through the Paycheck Protection Program, but has not received a response.

While working at the station Leila Goldstein has covered the economic effects of grocery cooperatives, police reform efforts in Dayton and the local impact of the coronavirus pandemic on hiring trends, telehealth and public parks. She also reported Trafficked, a four part series on misinformation and human trafficking in Ohio.
Chris Welter is an Environmental Reporter at WYSO through Report for America. In 2017, he completed the radio training program at WYSO's Eichelberger Center for Community Voices. Prior to joining the team at WYSO, he did boots-on-the-ground conservation work and policy research on land-use issues in southwest Ohio as a Miller Fellow with the Tecumseh Land Trust.