Ohio restaurants and bars were shuttered in March at the onset of the pandemic, along with almost everything else. It wasn't until early May that they were allowed to reopen while abiding by statewide health guidelines. Some lurched into the uncertain times; some decided to wait and see how it panned out.
For some of those that opened their doors since then, the rising coronavirus infection rates and the general public's (truly unexplainable) refusal to give everyone space and wear masks, the decision has come to take a step back.
Angelo's announced this week that it would be returning to takeout and delivery only and closing its dining room for the time being as a cautionary move as infections climb in Ohio.
Forest City has made a similar decision, although in the case of the Duck Island brewery it means complete closure except for to-go growler sales and it comes, at least partially, as a response to customers refusing to behave.
"We did our very best to do the right thing and protect the health of our employees, our customers and our neighborhood for the past 2 months. Fortunately, none of our employees have tested positive for the virus, and we are not aware of any customers that have tested positive, but, in light of what we have witnessed the past 2 months, and knowing that many of our neighborhood friends in the bar and restaurant industry have shut down due to infected employees, we can no longer take the risk of allowing the public in the building," the brewery said on Facebook.
"We also have had a hard time dealing with people who refuse to wear masks, social distance, or follow the rules set forth by the City of Cleveland and the State of Ohio. It seems that this disturbing trend will continue. We feel that we owe it to the first responders and healthcare professionals that are our loyal customers, neighbors and friends to do everything we can to stop the spread, and keep them from being completely overwhelmed, much like we are witnessing in Florida, Texas, California and most of the southern states."
This should serve as a general reminder that the businesses that remain open need your business, but they also need you to act responsibly so that everyone can stay open if they want and employees and families can feel as safe as possible.
As Scene dining editor Doug Trattner wrote two weeks ago: "Already we’re seeing restaurants that recently reopened their doors for the first time in months close them after an employee tested positive. We are also seeing states reverse course for the entire industry, with governors forcing bars and restaurants to return to delivery and takeout-only service. With the numbers going the way they are, there’s no reason to think Ohio will be immune from the same fate. If all that separates us from that bleak future is a piece of fabric, the choice seems like a no-brainer."