Ohio Restaurant Association, restaurant weigh in on DeWine’s benchmark and recovery plan


The Ohio Restaurant Association says this is something to look forward to when it comes to recovering economically

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Governor Mike DeWine’s new benchmark for lifting restrictions could have a major impact on one industry.

Recovery is on the mind of many restaurant owners.

Tony Tanner owns two small businesses in Columbus — the Buther and Grocer as well as a restaurant called the Cleaver a couple of doors down.

He says the governor’s announcement doesn’t mean a whole lot to him in this moment.

Making ends meet week to week, that’s Tanner’s focus every day.

“One of the things that we’ve learned early on is we can’t work off ‘if’ things that are coming. We just kind of have to have it in the back of our mind that it may happen,” he said.

He’s excited for the day restrictions are gone, being able to fill his tables and bar at the Cleaver with diners. But he’s still wary about what the future will bring even with measures gone.

“It really boils down to will people come out. I mean they can open us up 100 percent tomorrow, but if there’s not some reassurance for folks that they’re OK to go out to dinner and be in a restaurant that has normal seating in it, it’s not really going to matter what they say we can or can’t do.”

The Ohio Restaurant Association says this is something to look forward to when it comes to recovering economically.

“We’re just thrilled there’s a path forward toward spring — spring is coming and all of those restaurants that have been hurting throughout this time they’re holding onto a little bit more hope to make it to the summer,” said Homa Moheimani, the manager of Media and Communications with the ORA.

Spring and summer business will pick up. She said the pandemic has made a mark on what the industry looks like today

“Based upon our surveys, about one out of five restaurants of the original 23,000 locations in Ohio have closed, and again, we’re not sure if that’s temporary or permanent.”

The path to recovery is still unknown. Tanner said he will continue to work in the now and won’t make any major plans until they have the green light.

“But if these restrictions stay into the fall, I don’t know what it means for us. We know what we have to make each week, and if we stop making that much each week, we’re going to have to adjust again. For some people going that long, it might be the death knell for them.”

Tanner said the curfew being lifted did make a difference.

“Got a little bit better in here. It’s getting better every week. We’re actually changing our menu to less of a COVID carry-out menu, although that will still be available, and more entrees and those kinds of things as we’re seeing more people being comfortable coming into the restaurant.”

He says he’s hopeful with the vaccine rollout and patio season beginning soon, that more people will come out to dine.

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