German Village restaurant getting creative for customers, staff during coronavirus shutdown


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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Local restaurants naturally went into overdrive with the governor’s decision Sunday to close all bars and restaurants for dining in.

There were a lot of things to figure out, and still, there are some questions.

One Columbus-owned and operated restaurant reacted in stages.

First shock, then confusion, and now acceptance.

Valter’s in German Village is using some creativity to keep the business running during the shutdown.

Valter’s was buzzing at 7 p.m. Sunday.

But tonight, not all the conversation is about the delicious dinners. It’s about the fact that at 9 o’clock tonight, this dining-in experience is over for a while.

“It was devastating news,” said owner Valter Veliu. “We didn’t know what to do!”

Veliu has had his restaurant for four years, and in that time, his staff has grown exponentially.

And those are the people he’s worried about.

“We decided that the employees are going to eat for free during this time,” Veliu said. “My assistant said you can lay me off, and I decided not to. I said don’t worry. I’m going to cut that from myself. That’s a business owner thing first. I decided to pay my people before me.”

And while Veliu knows it’s the right thing with the coronavirus spreading, he still has questions for the governor.

“The main thing was can I sell alcohol if someone comes into my restaurant to get a to-go order?” he said. “Can they have a baby beer? Do I serve it and then somebody bust me and I lose my liquor license? There’s got to be something there!”

As for the loans the state said it will offer, Veliu and his employees are skeptical at best.

“We immediately went to the website but even they, the government website, was unaware of the fact that Ohio has locked down on our restaurants,” said server Thomas Kilpatrick.

But tonight, now that this group knows what’s next, the creativity has started to flow as they think of their customers.

“All my employees are going to come in and actually use their own vehicles to deliver,” Veliu said. “Your safety is gonna be our safety.”

Valter said in the month of March, he usually makes upwards of $130,000. This month, he’s not sure he will make $70,000.

The Ohio Restaurant Association said it’ll update its website to answer lots of questions restaurants all around the state may have.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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