DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Before the pandemic hit, bars and restaurants made up roughly 9% of Ohio’s workforce. While the lifted curfew brings good news across the board, local restaurants say they still need the community’s support in recovering from the restrictions.
“It’s the first step in recovery for those who are still open,” said John Barker, president and CEO of the Ohio Restaurant Association. “We’re trying to get this economy back on its feet and trying to get people to have a good job.”
The Ohio Restaurant Association says nearly 20% of Ohio’s 23,500 food service locations have closed. Some are down 70% in sales compared to this time last year. The lifted curfew brings good news for businesses but the ORA advises that this isn’t time to ignore CDC guidelines.
“Everyone who comes into the establishment, all the rules are still the same,” said Barker. “The only thing that has changed are the hours. Restaurants have shown, and guests have shown, that we can do this. It’s one of the reasons that we’ve contributed to the numbers coming down, people have followed the rules and have done a good job.”
Wheat Penny staff predict the lifted curfew will be a tremendous help to the Miami Valley.
“We’re trying to get ahead of this but we’re not out of the woods yet,” said Liz Valenit, co-owner and chef of Wheat Penny. “The vaccine is crucial to getting through this, we still have to wear masks, socially distance. I just encourage people to get information, be proactive, treat each other with love and respect. We’re going to be ok, all of Dayton will be ok.”
If hospitalizations rise again, DeWine said the curfew could be reinstated, he didn’t mention an exact number to avoid but says action will be taken quickly.