IRONTON, OH (WOWK) – Some southeast Ohio restaurant and bar owners say they are being singled out for the state’s current COVID-19 outbreak, which appears to be spiraling out of control.

Those owners say their businesses may be doomed if Ohio Governor Mike DeWine makes good on his threat to shut down restaurants, bars, and gyms if the COVID-19 trends don’t start going the other way.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine made a statement during his statewide address Wednesday evening saying “If the current trend continues and cases keep increasing, we will be forced to close restaurants, bars, and fitness centers.”

DeWine also mentioned, “these are places, candidly, where it’s difficult or impossible to maintain mask-wearing.” He also says the issue will be revisited a week from today and that he understands the burden this will place on the owners and employees of these businesses.

However, restaurant and bar owners in Lawrence County, Ohio say they do not agree with the governor’s assessment or his idea of how to slow the spread of the virus.

In Ironton, Armory Smokehouse general manager Chuck O’Neill says they “feel targeted.” O’Neill says they have already been through one shutdown and made it through with help from the community, but another shutdown could bring devastating results.

It nearly destroyed our business. We’re not sure we’ll be able to weather an additional storm.

Chuck O’Neill, Armory Smokehouse general manager

Bar owners are also speaking out against the governor’s statement – stating there are other factors at play. Miss Kitty’s Auger Inn owner Philip Hieronymus says they have been following the CDC guidelines “to a tee” and are even taking extra precautions.

We’re already probably going over and above on our compliance. We sanitize regularly day and night. You have people that try to comply and you have people that do not comply.

Philip Hieronymus, Miss Kitty’s Auger Inn owner

Today, the state of Ohio reported 7,100 new COVID-19 cases. If this trend continues, a second shutdown could be ahead in the near future.