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Coronavirus In Ohio: Chamber Of Commerce Says Reopening Businesses Will Be A Process

Spiritus Tattoo, a tattoo parlor in Clintonville, is closed as a non-essential business. A sign posted on the storefront window cautions would-be criminals that all valuables have been removed.
Cindy Gaillard

The head of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce calls Gov. Mike DeWine’s plan to reopen the economy "a prudent first step" toward getting back to normal.

Chamber president and CEO Andrew Doehrel says there are other businesses, including restaurant, bars and barbershops, that are anxious and ready to reopen. But he says resuming business during the coronvirus pandemic is a process. 

"These are a lot of the smaller companies and so it's really kind of personal with them," Doehrel said. "If I'm a small restaurant, a single location restaurant, not only this, my livelihood, it's probably livelihood for my whole family."

Restaurants for in-person dining and bars were not a part of DeWine's initial phase of reopening. Doehrel said this is a difficult environment to manage because patrons and employees come in close contact with each other.

"Those are the toughest situations to really manage, even from an employer and business viewpoint," he said. "When you have people in such close, close proximity, whether it's delivering the food or ordering food and being in that restaurant with the patrons."

Doehrel said the chamber has had a good dialogue with state officials since restrictions first went into place to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. He also said they have learned a lot from the essential business that have stayed open and were able to enact various safety measures including wearing masks and social distancing. 

"We think these are reasonable. They're not off-the-wall type of things that we're not aware of, and they're ones that we believe the majority of the businesses can handle," Doehrel said.