German Village restaurant owner backs off on plan to allow dine-in customers

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A German Village restaurant owner is backing off his original plans to defy the state’s ‘Stay Safe Ohio’ order. As Ohio deals with COVID-19, the order does not allow restaurants to be open to dine-in patrons. But Valter Veliu, owner of Valters at the Maennerchor, had plans to open up to dine-in customers anyways.  

“May 1st I’m opening the restaurant. Approved or not I can’t do this anymore.,” Veliu said in a video posted on social media earlier this week. “I need money now. No way. I need to keep my doors open. I will fail if I don’t.”

According to Veliu, the plan was to only use one table per room, have everyone using masks and gloves, and have customers use their phones to order instead of menus. But Friday, he decided to not follow through with that plan and instead continue to utilize only carry out and delivery, which is allowed under the state’s order.  

“I just cannot risk the liquor license,” Veliu said.  

He says he got a letter from the Department of Commerce telling him if he opened, there was a chance he could lose his liquor license.  

“That’s pretty much a destroyer there if they take the liquor license, so I’m not going risk that,” he said. “That did change my mind.”  

Now, he says he wants a specific date for when restaurants will be allowed to open back up to dine-in customers. He hoped Gov. Mike DeWine would have details about that this week. 

“Give me a date and it’s fine,” he said. “We can deal with that. We just don’t have hopes right now.”

On Friday, Gov. DeWine was asked why he has not given specific dates for the rest of the reopening plans while other states have provided more information.

“We’re trying to go from things that are more obvious to things that are more difficult,” DeWine responded. “We’re working our way through and the faster we can go the better for everybody.”

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