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Short North business owners hope voluntary curfew is temporary

Bar and restaurant owners are divided over following the voluntary midnight curfew.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Friday morning, people in the Short North could already see some changes from police. Signs were posted along North High Street, with notification of the 10 p.m. parking ban. New police cameras were also set up.

“I think a curfew at this point is the only thing that would make me feel safer,” said Gabriella Pucci, a Short North resident.

Starting this weekend, Columbus police and city leaders are asking Short North bars and restaurants to close at midnight. Many of them already do.

We spoke to one restaurant owner on Thursday, who said this curfew will further hurt his business.

Meanwhile, at Seventh Son Brewing over on North 4th street, not far from North High Street, a co-owner said Friday they have decided to follow the voluntary curfew.

Collin Castore, co-founder of Seventh Son, said "it didn't seem like the worst thing in the world for people to get a early night off and a couple extra hours asleep.”

He went on to say he could understand at the same time though, how difficult of a decision it can be for other business owners.

"It's always difficult when businesses are closed earlier than they want to close and it takes some revenue out of their pockets, however there's nothing more important than public safety,” said Don DePerro - president and CEO Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

As announced Thursday at a news conference, the city will be focusing law enforcement efforts on North High Street, between Goodale and Fifth.

We asked Chief Elaine Bryant if the Columbus Division of Police is concerned about leaving other areas of the city vulnerable while they focus their attention on the Short North.

“No,” said Chief Bryant. “And that's why we talked about different operations Operation Burnout has already been in existence, and it's a roving operation. Operation Unity has been in existence and it’s an on-going operation. We look at the data, we address the concerns where in need but you also have to remember, these are just strict operations we're doing but we also have patrol that is standard across every single neighborhood.”

We asked the co-owner of Seventh Son Brewing: "Are you concerned about the spillover of crime happening closer to where Seventh Son is located?”

“My understanding is that the city and the folks who are thinking about these safety issues are pretty conscious of the traffic patterns,” said Collin Castore, “and the fact that Fourth Street is a kind of part of the Short North as much as it's a little separate. So I'm hoping that I'm hoping that doesn't happen."

Many business owners say they are hoping that measures like the voluntary curfew and parking ban are temporary.

The Short North: A complex history with art, development and crime

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