COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Gov. Mike DeWine’s announcement that all Ohioans 16 and older will be able to get the COVID-19 by the end of the month was good news not only for them, but for the restaurant industry as well.
The hope is that more and more people will feel comfortable to come out and dine in person again.
The announcement comes at a crucial time as warmer weather approaches and more and more restaurants expand their outdoor dining area.
Over the last year, empty tables and empty bar stools have become an all-too-familiar sight, one that many in the restaurant industry hope to see changed now that a larger amount of Ohio’s population will soon be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine.
“It’s going to help a lot more, bring the traffic back in,” said Yash Kishinchand with Rooh, a restaurant in the Short North. “We’ve never been open a summer in the Short North since the timeline we opened, so that’ll be nice. We’ll have foot traffic out again hopefully.”
Kishinchand said the goal is to open for more than just dinner in the near future.
“If we can have that weekend rush every single weekday, that would be the best thing for our business,” he said. “We can hopefully open up more days, think about doing a lunch or a brunch and expand on that.”
The Ohio Restaurant Association said the move is a positive step in the right direction, but that there is still a long way to go.
Looks like it’s on the up and up for the restaurant industry, but it’s still a long road to recovery,” said Homa Moheimani, manager of media and communications for the Ohio Restaurant Association. “In the restaurant industry, just because there’s something that are opening back up right now, but they’ve had so many losses in the last year, so it’s a long road to recovery.”
Tony Tanner, co-owner of Cleaver in Grandview, hopes the new vaccination eligibility will bring more hustle and bustle.
“Just packed, that’s what I want,” he said. “I just want it packed, get people feeling good, feeling comfortable, get our restrictions down so we know everyone’s safe and we can get back to business like normal.”
Tanner also hopes the news will being peace of mind for his staff.
“I know that the folks that work for us are real excited about being able to get in there cause they’ve been with customers ever since a year ago today when everything got shut down,” Tanner said. “They’ve been with customers the whole time.”
The restaurant association said many employees are still feeling the impact of the pandemic and has put together a relief fund to help out. For more information on the fund, click here.