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Bowling Green bar owners, patrons excited for return to normal business hours

Gov. DeWine lifted Ohio's curfew and last call restrictions after COVID-19 hospitalizations dropped. For bars, it means a return to some normalcy and more business.

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — For months, bars and restaurants were banned from normal operation here in Ohio. But that has come to an end Thursday. 

Gov. Mike DeWine lifted the statewide curfew for non-essential businesses after seeing covid hospitalizations below 2,500 for more than a week.

RELATED: Ohio curfew lifted as COVID-19 hospitalizations continue on downward trend | Ohio Coronavirus Update

People and businesses are excited about the return back to normal. 

Lauren Kostelnik owns Campus Quarters and Ziggy's in Bowling Green. She says they've lost so much money on those lost hours. She says the staff is super excited to get more hours.

But she stressed that she’s telling customers that even though the curfew is gone, COVID-19 safety measures are still in effect.

“I do think that's important,” she noted, “because we know that if those things suffer, if those criteria is not still being met, you know the governor will pull that curfew back in place and then we'll be back at square one, so we really want to avoid that this time.”

Customers say they are very happy they'll have more time now after work or after night classes to go out. The curfew limited certain groups of people from even making it out to places in time. And they believe people can stay safe whether it's two in the afternoon or two in the morning.

One customer at Ziggy’s believes this will help benefit everyone, from the businesses to people’s mental health and morale. She says the businesses have been doing a great job at keeping people safe.

“I think they do a great job and with the whole curfew,” she said. “I didn't see why, like, if everyone is social distancing and wearing masks, what's the difference of 10 o'clock or 2 o'clock?”

WTOL 11 reached out to Bowling Green State University for their thoughts on the curfew being removed, especially since many students had to make a commitment involving COVID-19.

RELATED: BGSU warns students after large parties off campus

Ben Batey, the chief health officer at the school, said in a statement:

“As we have done throughout the global pandemic, BGSU will continue to encourage our students to make responsible and safe decisions. We have seen a steady decrease in cases in our campus community over the last month and we will remain diligent in following the health and safety guidelines outlined in our Falcon Commitment.”

The curfew did not apply to just bars or restaurants. It involved all non-essential businesses. We spoke with Planet Fitness in the Toledo area and they tell us they plan to return to 24/7 hours immediately.