CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - In just one week, restaurant and bar patios can reopen in Ohio. They must follow social distancing guidelines laid out by Gov. Mike DeWine Thursday.
However, many restaurant owners are working on doing everything they can to make sure when they do reopen, customers feel comfortable dining in.
At Lindey’s Lakehouse, they’re doing everything from coving tables, putting up plexiglass, and moving furniture to adding new menu items to get ready for Friday.
“We’re not sure exactly what to expect," Owner Rick Doody said. "I think a lot of people are going to look at this very conservatively. Then there’s also the people that want to get back out.”
Doody worked on the advisory board to the governor for restaurants and bars reopening. He said even they didn’t know the date for restaurants to reopen until the governor took the podium.
He said he would ideally liked to have seen restaurants and bars able to fully open on May 15. But, with the biggest question now answered , there are still many more uncertainties ahead.
“We’re not sure whether we’re going to make any money once this opens up,” said Doody.
As they prepare to reopen, they’re also faced with one big concern; will customers they be ready to come back out to eat?
“We’re not sure what to expect because this is a new journey for us,” Doody said.
Flats resident Suzanne Stang said, “I’m a little bit fearful to go back into the restaurants.”
Her biggest concerns she said are “people who haven’t been self-quarantined. You just don’t know who they’ve been around I just don’t want to get sick or make anyone else sick.”
Stang’s concerns are familiar those Doody has heard from his own friends and family. “They have old parents they have to watch out for they’re worried and you have both sides of it,” he said.
They’re also concerns Lindey’s and many restaurants are doing all they can to alleviate. “We need to earn the trust of our guests,” said Doody. “We need to earn the fact that they’re comfortable to come down to eat.”
The staff at Lindey’s is moving and removing tables for more space between customers and installing plexiglass between booths and they’ve removed congregating spaces like their game yard and replaced it with an expanded dining area.
“Safety is job number one,” Doody said. “Safety for our guests and safety for our employees.” He added, We’re doing all the maintenance and cleanliness we can possibly do. I don’t think our restaurants will have ever looked better and that’s the way it should be.”