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More Than Half Of Ohio's Restaurants Say They May Have To Close Soon

Restaurants and businesses on Grandview Avenue on May 14, 2020.
David Holm
Restaurants and businesses on Grandview Avenue on May 14, 2020.

More than half of the state’s restaurants and bars could be out of business soon, according to a survey by the Ohio Restaurant Association. Owners of those establishments say the state's COVID-19 restrictions are hurting their businesses, and fear it will get worse.

The Ohio Restaurant Association’s John Barker says 54% of restaurant and bar owners in the survey say they’ll likely close within the next nine months if the current business climate continues.

Barker says if that holds up, and more than half of the state's 23,000 restaurants and bars close, communities will suffer.

“That’s equivalent to 585,000 people who work within this industry in the state, which makes it the second largest employer," Barker says.

According to the survey, released in August, more than 75% of restaurants have reopened after mass closures in March, but 17% say they have no plans to reopen at this time.

For those restaurants that did reopen, almost half are operating at less than 50% capacity, and the vast majority don't anticipate breaking even this year.

"Only 30% of restaurants believe they can operate for more than a year or indefinitely at their current capacity," the report reads.

Barker says they fear matters will get worse when the weather turns colder and outside patios are no longer an option. Barker says the situation worsens if college and pro sports don’t play this fall, which seems likely.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.