Ohio wineries offering plenty of space for social distancing and controlled dining environment

Ohio wineries have the space to responsibly welcome patrons

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -Bars and restaurants are going to great lengths to accommodate for social distancing, but what about the wineries in Northeast Ohio?

“People want to come out and want to be safe. We’re very cautious about it,” said co-owner of Ferrante Winery, Mary Jo Ferrante.

At Ferrante Winery in Geneva they say they’re fortunate that they have big patios and a lot of green space. They’ve added more tables and chairs and new picnic tables. So they didn’t lose capacity.

They’re utilizing several patio heaters as well.

They’ll open indoor dining tomorrow, but they’ll lose about half of their capacity inside.

“The weather is nice, people are excited to get out. And we’re excited to see everybody,” said Ferrante.

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Down in Canton, Gervasi Vineyard is at an advantage with 55 acres to work with.

They have three outdoor dining options, so they can easily accommodate the six foot spacing.

On the popular Piazza, they’re utilizing patio furniture and created seating groupings on the lawn and will have full service, electing not to have walk up counter ordering to avoid congregating and congestion.

“At every entrance will have hosts and managers out front with head sets on who are making sure people are adhering to those markings, who will be communicating to the inside,” said Scott Swaldo, GM Gervasi Vineyard

Both places are orchestrating guests entrances, exists and movement.

The key, they both say is a commitment to a controlled environment, to manage pacing, spacing and safety.

“You really can control it if you invest in the process. And headsets are a way we’re doing that. It takes extra labor but it’s what we have to do and we’re committed to doing it," Swaldo said.

“We actually had to close our front doors last Saturday because I felt the patio was getting over crowded. We’re prepared to do that this weekend in a safe manner, where people can just wait outside until we see that we’re organized inside,” Ferrante said.

Memorial Day Weekend is the kick off to their busy season. Based on last weekend and upcoming reservations, they expect a good crowd.

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