Restaurateurs speak out after restaurants, bars close indefinitely due to governor’s orders due to COVID-19 outbreak

Governor Mike DeWine ordered restaurants and bars to close at 9 p.m. Sunday night
Restaurateurs speak out after Gov. DeWine orders restaurants, bars to close indefinitely due to...
Restaurateurs speak out after Gov. DeWine orders restaurants, bars to close indefinitely due to coronavirus(Source: WOIO)
Updated: Mar. 15, 2020 at 10:42 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Just minutes after Governor Mike DeWine told the state during his Sunday press conference that eating and drinking at all restaurants and bars will cease by 9 p.m. Sunday, owners of affected establishments started speaking out.

Businesses that serve food will be able to provide carry out and delivery orders for customers, but some owners are expressing concern for their employees that rely on tips.

One of those owners is Tony George, has over a dozen restaurants like Harry Buffalo, TownHall, and the new Summer House.

Between his 14 restaurants in the area. and three in Columbus, he expects he alone will have to lay off 1600 employees due to this.

“It’s going to be a hard road. Some of these people live day to day,” George said. ”I think the Governor went the more extreme way. But we have to support our leadership. They’re making tough decisions. But they’re making them based on the health on the citizens of Ohio, I just wish it wasn’t so drastic. Moving forward, it would be nice to see the Governor work with other leadership to come up with a plan moving forward. How is the state is going to help all these employees and how are they going to hep the business owners so they’re able to recover and stay in business?"

He expects this to put 50% of restaurants out of business.

However, George said “I hope I am wrong."

“We’ll survive, we’ll come back. But I’m worried about our employees. We’re going to try and figure out a way to help them throughout this mess and keep them safe so that they can get through this tough period,” George said.

Ushabu Owner Matt Spinner expressed similar feelings, saying "Our business, among many others, may not be able to survive an extended closure of more than a few weeks. This is potentially a death sentence for many many small businesses.

We realize fully the severity of the pandemic, but unless the government is prepared to allocate funds to owners and employees, poverty will rise, evictions will rise, mortgages will default, and the financial landscape in Ohio will change.

Moreover, the idea that bars and restaurants are targeted seems like a miss. The lines and crowds in Costco, Walmart and retailers were very full. If this is going to be a ban on congregating, bats and restaurants shouldn’t be expected to shoulder burden alone."

Others like Cedar Creek Grille and Lindy’s Lakehouse Owner Rick Doody agrees with the measures taken by the Governor.

“We 110 % support the Govenor’s decision to close ours and all restaurants/bars. This is a deadly serious pandemic we must get about the caring and well being of our NCR associates and their families as best we can. Stay healthy and sanitized everyone" Doody said.

El Carnicero and Momocho Owner Eric Williams also agreed with the Governor, saying “I do think it’s the best thing to happen. It’s going to make our community safer, stronger, and more determined than ever to succeed. We have a great community of restaurants and chefs.”

Hook and Hoof Owner Chaz Bloom said “Like everyone we are afraid of what the future holds, but I’m also of the opinion that this is absolutely necessary, as is a 2-3 week lockdown for everyone in order to have a chance to reopen for the long term.”

Restaurateurs like those that own the third generation, family-run German restaurant Der Braumeister are trying to stay strong and make the best of the situation:

“As a local, small business in the community for 35 years, Der Braumeister has experienced both the best and worst of times, and we have survived.

As a commitment to not only our staff, but our community, we will continue to serve both our food and beer through curbside pickup and delivery during select hours, and we will also be donating proceeds of gift cards and growler purchases to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

These are challenging times, but we know we will get through this, together.”

On Facebook, Urban Farmer in Cleveland said “We deeply care about our community and encourage everyone to remain supportive of one another during this unprecedented time. Please continue to support your favorite local restaurants through carry out orders if you’re able to... We’ll get through this together.”

Return to 19 News for updates.

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