Restaurants around Ohio are looking for guidance on how to re-open after the governor said they could serve patrons outdoors next week, and begin indoor dining a week later.
Hundreds of restaurateurs from around the state tuned in to a webinar conducted by the Ohio Restaurant Association on the re-opening process.
The group’s president, John Barker, says the most important aspect to reopening will be ensuring proper social distancing in accordance with the Gov. Mike DeWine's orders.
"It’s going to be tough," Barker says. "COVID has created incredible stress on people and the economy and the restaurant industry and that’s not going to go away overnight."
But Barker says monetarily, the start up costs are going to be challenging for restaurants, some of which have had no income over the last two months.
"If they were able to already offer carry out and drive through they were at least able to continue to operate," he says. "But many of them, even when they had that, their sales were down between 20 to 90% versus the same time a year ago."
Barker encourages restaurants to come back in stages, fewer customers means less money, and in turn makes it difficult to hire back all of their employees
"Restaurants will come back," he says. "But they’ll be coming back slowly."
The restaurant ssociation plans to release a document in the next few days called the Ohio Restaurant Promise. They will ask businesses to sign and display it as a pledge to operate under the guidelines the governor ordered.