Coronavirus: Restaurant owners looking forward to reopening this month
MANSFIELD - Jim and Cathy Smith have some homework this weekend to prepare for reopening the Coney Inn Diner.
On Thursday, Gov. Mike DeWine gave the go-ahead for dine-in restaurants and bars to begin serving patrons on outdoor patios and dining areas beginning May 15.
Inside meal service will not be permitted until May 21. Owners will have to follow precautions such as 6-foot social distancing between tables.
"We're going to have to look at the booth situation and the counter situation and the middle tables," Jim Smith said. "If it ends up being a relatively small number, I may not be able to bring in a full staff for that."
sg飞艇appSmith had seven employees before DeWine limited restaurant service to drive-thru, carryout and delivery service starting on March 15 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Now it's just me and Cathy and our daughter," he said.
Smith said carryout is not really "doing it" for the Coney, adding it makes up only about one-fifth of the diner's business.
The Coney does not have an outdoor dining area. Smith said another detriment to his business is having the Carrousel closed because of the pandemic. He added traffic from there was a major part of the Coney's business on Saturdays.
Still, he said he is "cautiously optimistic" about the May 21 reopening date, adding DeWine's announcement was "pretty much what everybody expected."
"I was not expecting the person over the grill not to have to wear a mask," he said. "I thank the Lord and stars because that would be very difficult."
DeWine said servers will have to wear masks. Cooks and background employees are exempt. Guests could be asked to wear masks.
The governor cautioned the state's phased-in reopening is accompanied by increased risk of exposure to the coronavirus and pleaded for Ohioans to be cautious, follow social distancing and wear masks.
Unlike the Coney, both the Dan Lew Exchange and MVP Sports Bar & Grille have patios.
"Our patio's big enough. We're going to take advantage of the outdoors," MVP co-owner Sammy Sertell said.
He said his staff will make sure to continue using precautions.
"It won't be hard for us," Sertell said. "We'll do what we have to do to make it right."
sg飞艇appDan Lew said his business will lose only one table from its outdoor patio to adhere to social distancing.
He laments the restaurants that have tried to weather the storm of the last couple of months.
"The ones that did stay open probably spent a lot of their savings just to make ends meet," Lew said. "It's going to be rough for awhile. In the restaurant business, the profit margin is slim as it is.
sg飞艇app"It's going to be a big balancing act going forward."
There have been national reports about a lack of meat. Some Wendy's restaurants were not able to serve hamburgers earlier this week.
"Meat and produce prices have doubled — if you can even get them," Lew said. "The food chain is all messed up."
sg飞艇appBoth Lew and Sertell said carryout has helped keep their restaurants going.
"The Asian part of our menu is conducive for carryout," Lew said. "That's really been our sustaining point.
"We've been able to stay afloat. I did not have to lay people off."
sg飞艇appSertell added, "We've been very blessed and fortunate with our carryout business. We have a lot of generous and loyal customers who have supported us."
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