Local reaction to DeWines go-ahead to reopen restaurants, bars and personal care services – The Clermont Sun

Posted: May 15, 2020 at 9:44 am


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On May 7, 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that restaurants, bars and personal care services --hair salons, barbershops, day spas, nail salons and tanning facilities-- would be permitted to reopen, beginning May 15, 2020. One of those business owners who is reopening is Kevin Malof, partial owner of Bishops Quarter bar and restaurant, pictured, in Loveland. Photo provided.

By Megan Alley Sun Reporter

On May 7, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that restaurants, bars and personal care services hair salons, barbershops, day spas, nail salons and tanning facilities would be permitted to reopen, beginning May 15.

The announcement is part of DeWines continuingResponsible RestartOhioplan to reopen businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan sets forth the following:

Starting May 1, all medically necessary procedures that do not require an overnight stay in a healthcare facility or do not require inpatient hospital admission and minimizes use of personal protective equipment could move ahead.

This includes regular doctor visits, well-care checks, well-baby visits, out-patient surgeries, imaging procedures and diagnostic tests.

Dental services and veterinary services may also move ahead if a safe environment can be established.

Starting May 4, manufacturing, distribution and construction businesses could reopen if these businesses can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees.

Also beginning on May 4, general office environments could reopen if these businesses can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees.

Starting May 12, consumer, retail and some services could reopen if these businesses can meet mandatory safety requirements for customers and employees.

According to the plan, the general safe business practices that all businesses must follow as they reopen are:

Requiring face coverings for all employees, and recommending them for clients and customers at all times.

Conducting daily health assessments or self-evaluations of employees to determine if they should work.

Maintaining hand washing and social distancing.

Cleaning and sanitizing workplaces throughout the day and at the close of business or between shifts.

Limiting capacity to meet social distancing guidelines

Clermont Chamber President Matt Van Sant provided a local response to the most recent announcement,.

The Clermont Chamber is pleased that Governor DeWine has re-opened Ohio on a limited basis for our workers andresidents, Van Sant wrote in an email. Four out of ten workers in Clermont County are from manufacturing, retail trade, and health care/social assistance. From restaurants to basic employment in our county, this move will strengthen our overall economy and make things better for our community. Our workers want to work.

DeWines plan, as it pertains to restaurants, bars and personal care services, says the following:

Restaurants and bars in the state will be permitted to reopen outdoor dining services on May 15 and dine-in services on May 21.

DeWines Restaurant Advisory Group drafted a list of guidelines and best practices for restaurant and bar owners to follow. The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices can be found atcoronavirus.ohio.gov.

Personal care services, such as hair salons, barbershops, day spas, nail salons and tanning facilities will be permitted to reopen on May 15.

DeWines Personal Services Advisory Group drafted a list of guidelines and best practices for personal care service providers to follow. The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices can be found atcoronaviurs.ohio.gov.

One of those businesses owners diving into the plan set forth by DeWine is Kevin Malof, who is a partial owner of Bishops Quarter bar and restaurant in Loveland.

Bishops Quarter is a three-level bar located just off the bike trail, and it opened in December 2018.

The bar and restaurant employs some 40 part-time and full-time staff members, made up of cooks, wait staff and administrators. Hiring was underway to staff-up for the busy summer season when state stay-at-home orders were enacted in mid-March, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

There was disappointment that we had to close, but primarily because of our employees; we were concerned about how they were going to pay the bills and sustain themselves during this crisis, in part because none of us knew how long it would be; four weeks, eight weeks, none of us knew for sure, Malof said.

Leadership at Bishops Quarter quickly pivoted its operations to try to make ends meet.

They took advantage of the Small Business Administrations Paycheck Protection Program designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll, and they began offering carryout food, and eventually, beverage service.

We had an excellent, absolutely amazing response, Malof shared. Not that were making the money that we were making as a full-service, full-time restaurant, but the support that we had initially from the local community was great.

Now, Malof and his team are getting ready to reopen under the mandatory and recommended best practices set forth under DeWines plan, a step that Malof says has brought him some relief.

We were actually seeing movement in terms of some direction, and of course, the devil is in the details, he said, adding, What we do know, and weve been blessed in this entire period, we have had carryout, we have maintained a strict regiment of cleanliness and sanitary conditions, things we always have done as a restaurant, because restaurants are unique; its handling food and there is a substantial safety component, so we really havent changed that, except that we have been open this entire period, as a carryout, and have been able to do that in a manner of maintaining self practices that have not allowed any contamination or anyone becoming contagious.

He went on to say, In some ways, were not changing what were doing, even when we allow customers to come in, but the introduction to customers adds a secondary layer, because its incumbent upon them to help protect themselves, each other and our staff [customers] may become complacent, whereas employees know that the moment they feel ill, they would notify us.

Bishops Quarter will continue to offer carryout, and theyll start offering outdoor seating service this weekend, and dine-in indoor service beginning next weekend.

Plans for how to move forward after that are contingent on customer demand, weather and staffing availability.

While Malof and his staff will be taking the precautions to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at Bishops Quarter, they are not requiring customers to wear face coverings, which the Centers for Disease Control recommends to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

We would hope that our customers self-police each other, and themselves, and not put other people or the staff at risk, if it comes down to that, Malof said. If we believe, as things change, as that [wearing face masks] is a practice that is required or necessary to ensure safety, then well evaluate and consider that as well.

Malof said that hes had one employee who has expressed concern of safety about returning to work and interacting with large numbers of the public.

For his employees with those concerns, Malof said hes offered to move them to more behind-the-scenes positions, or offered them the flexibility of staying home, while ensuring that their positions will be held for them until they choose to return to work.

When asked about the significant path he and his employees are charting as they move ahead in the early stages to reopen Ohio businesses amid a deadly pandemic, Malof responded, We believe that we can offer an opportunity for people to come in, start experiencing restaurant business again, and yet, we realize that our success, and the success of this experiment is directly incumbent upon our customers taking the issue as seriously as everyone else is. . . . People need to be smart about this, and not put everyone else at risk.

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Local reaction to DeWines go-ahead to reopen restaurants, bars and personal care services - The Clermont Sun

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May 15th, 2020 at 9:44 am

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