How Ohio Restaurants Can Survive The Pandemic

Dec 22, 2020
Cecelia Brockett, left, and Courtney Barefoot enjoy a lunch at the Winking Lizard Tavern, Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Beachwood, Ohio.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

The restaurant industry has been battered by the pandemic. Three out of five Ohio restaurants surveyed said they are at risk of closing permanently without additional government aid.

The new stimulus bill could provide a lifeline, but many in the industry are worried it will be too little too late.

Ohio Investigative Unit

A nightclub on Columbus's far East Side is under investigation by state officials for a "flagrant" violation of COVID-19 health restrictions over the weekend. 

In the best of times, service industry workers are typically paid below the minimum wage and rely on tips to make up the difference. Now, those still working in an industry battered by the coronavirus pandemic are on the front lines, enforcing COVID-19 safety measures at the expense of both tip earnings and avoiding harassment.

Cecelia Brockett, left, and Courtney Barefoot enjoy a lunch at the Winking Lizard Tavern, Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Beachwood, Ohio.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

Ohio’s restaurants and bars say Congress needs to get to work immediately to give them more federal dollars to offset the losses associated with the pandemic.

Gov. Mike DeWine issued a 10 p.m. curfew last week in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. Lots of bar and restaurant owners are concerned the curfew will cut even deeper into their bottom line. But one bar owner in Fairborn has found a way to keep his operation profitable.

Cecelia Brockett, left, and Courtney Barefoot enjoy a lunch at the Winking Lizard Tavern, Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, in Beachwood, Ohio.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

To combat the state's renewed surge of coronavirus cases, Ohio is issuing a curfew that requires most retail establishments to close from 10 p.m.-5 a.m.

Gov. Mike DeWine says the curfew will take effect Thursday, Nov. 19 and last for 21 days, after which point the order will be re-evaluated.

As Ohio continues to report record-breaking rates of COVID-19 cases, Kent State public health professor Tina Bhargava says Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and other state and local leaders need to consider closing some businesses to stem the surge in cases.

Some shutdowns are needed to get COVID-19 under control in Ohio, Bhargava said.

Restaurants and businesses on Grandview Avenue on May 14, 2020.
David Holm / WOSU

More than a half a million people work in Ohio’s bar and restaurant industry, which is pushing back on an announcement from Gov. Mike DeWine that he would consider shutting down those businesses next week if the state’s COVID-19 numbers don’t improve.

Local restaurant and shop owners are concerned about the impact another potential shutdown would have on their businesses after Gov. Mike DeWine said Wednesday the state may order another round of closures if the current coronavirus surge continues.

The state will evaluate virus numbers again Nov. 19 before deciding whether to shut down restaurants, bars and fitness centers.

A day after Gov. Mike DeWine strengthened face mask orders, the state reported 7,101 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in Ohio to 274,457.

Gov. Mike DeWine holds up a face mask at a press conference April 6, 2020.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine

Gov. Mike DeWine is strengthening Ohio's face mask orders, which could result in the closure of businesses that don’t enforce the wearing of masks by employees and customers. Next week, the state will look into possibly closing bars, restaurants and fitness centers if COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Bartender Billy Search is behind the bar at The Little Bar while wearing a mask.
Adora Namigadde / WOSU

Ohio State will kickoff its football season after a nearly two month delay on Saturday and while the university is asking fans to avoid gathering together to watch the game, local bars are hoping to see an influx of business.

Weekly Reporter Roundtable

Oct 19, 2020
alcohol poured into a shot glass

A political battle is brewing over the mandatory 10 p.m. early last call at Ohio bars and restaurants.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine cited consecutive days of record-high COVID19 cases last week when he nixed plans to extend operating hours where alcohol is served. The Ohio Senate has responded with a measure that would repeal the governor’s curfew.

flight of beer in glasses

The mandatory 10 p.m. shutdown of liquor sales at Ohio bars getting pushback from owners, customers and elected officials. But Gov. Mike DeWine says the curfew has to stay in place for now.

Restaurant owners, workers and their supporters gathered Thursday night outside Wings Sports Bar and Grille in Beavercreek to protest the COVID-related restrictions placed on their businesses. They met with State Senator Bob Hackett and State Representative Rick Perales to voice their concerns.