MIAMI VALLEY — Gov. Mike DeWine ordered all bars and restaurants close in Ohio, which began Sunday night, until further notice as DeWine attempts to limit the spread of the coronavirus, saying “if we don’t take these actions now, it’ll be too late.”
DeWine said what he called “very drastic action” was prompted by concerns from around the state about crowded bars. He said takeout and delivery would still be allowed.
DeWine said he understood the impact on small businesses and steps would be taken to mitigate the suffering.
“What we’ve done this week is drastic action, but we’re taking these steps to save lives,” DeWine tweeted.
It is unclear when bars and restaurants will reopen, with DeWine saying, “It will be in effect as long as it needs to.”
DeWine said he understood the “brutally tough” impact on small businesses and steps would be taken to mitigate the suffering.
“Delay means more people will die,” he said. “Literally every day we delay, the data clearly shows that more people will die.” More than that, he said, the Ohio health care system “will not hold up” for others with urgent needs, such as those with strokes or heart attacks.
“People will die if we do not do not make these decisions,” he said.
State officials also spoke about offering assistance to restaurant employees without paid leave time who may be hurt financially by this decision. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said an executive order would be signed to enable workers who do not have paid leave benefits to access unemployment compensation during the emergency. Others steps would help bar and restaurant owners return liquor purchased for holiday or sporting events and to allow businesses and nonprofits help through disaster loans, he said.
The governor said earlier in the day that it was possible that Ohio schools may be closed for the rest of the academic year.
Many local restaurants were sharing their plans to comply with DeWine’s mandate via social media on Sunday.
On Facebook, Buffalo Wings & Rings, which has a Piqua location on East Ash Street, said they were closing their dining area in “the best interest of our families, our team, and the residents of Ohio” per the governor’s order, but they plan to offer carry-out options.
“The health and safety of all of our team members and our guest is top priority,” Buffalo Wings & Rings said in a statement. “We understand the concern and increased awareness regarding health and safety. Our stores have elevated their cleaning procedures and we are taking every precaution to ensure we comply with the guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and state department of health. Thank you for supporting your local restaurant and our employees. Please take care of each other.”
Buffalo Wings & Rings also posted their plans to remain open and provide carry-out options, saying, “Your local Buffalo Wings & Rings will be available for carryout, curbside pickup and (third) party delivery until further notice. You can place your order at buffalowingsandrings.com or call in your order for pick up. If picking up, we will gladly bring your order out to your car — just call the store when you arrive. You can also place your order for delivery through delivery providers (where available).”
El Sombrero restaurant, 1700 N. County Road 25-A, Troy, remains open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for carry-out orders, according to Judy Rose, business manager. She said the restaurant also has bottled drinks to sell.
She said during the mandated closures, they will work hard to continue to have their employees work by doing work around the restaurant and help with the to-go orders.
“To the best of our abilities we will keep our employees working,” said Rose, who said they do have concerns about the length of time the restaurant will need to remain closed.
On Facebook, 311 Drafthouse in Piqua said they were taking Monday “to evaluate what we will be able to provide in the coming weeks.” Tom Elliott, owner of 311 Drafthouse, said later on Monday they will be offering a limited take out order menu and seeing how that goes for the foreseeable future.
“We at 311 Drafthouse want to thank all of our loyal patrons,” they posted on Facebook.
Basil’s on Market in Troy posted they will be closed to all in-house seating due to the mandatory closing, but they plan to offer carry-out options starting Tuesday. They will update times and menu items as that information becomes available.
On Monday, Kerry Williamson of 3 Joe’s Pizzeria & Trattoria in Piqua said their entire menu is available for carry-out.
“We’d love for them to,” Williamson said when asked if they hope the community will order carry-out.
Williamson said they have moved some of the dining staff to the kitchen, but it is unclear if the restaurant, like many others, will be able to keep their staff on at the levels they had them previously before the mandated closure.
“We’re just trying to gauge how long we can keep our staff on,” Williamson said.
Williamson said they have mixed feelings about the governor’s mandate, but they are doing what they need to in order to take extra precautions in regard to the coronavirus, such as sanitizing the dining room for when the governor allows restaurants to reopen, as well as having the employees wear gloves and washing their hands constantly.
3 Joe’s Pizzeria & Trattoria opens at 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon on Sundays, but Williamson said they are also gauging when they will close. Currently, they plan to close at 8 p.m.
Lincoln Square Family Restaurant in Troy is open during regular business hours for carry-out orders. They have added order delivery service during the current crisis. The owners have also moved up a planned remodel of the dining room at the restaurant to coincide with the mandated dining room closure.
For more information on the coronavirus, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.
The Associated Press contributed to this story. Sam Wildow, Melody Vallieu, and Mike Ullery contributed to this story.