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Restaurants: Too little, too late for aid now

As Ohio does its best to pick up the slack from the federal government in helping residents and businesses struggling financially because of COVID-19, some business owners are reporting that, unfortunately, it may be too little, too late.

Over the weekend, approximately 15,000 bars and restaurants in the Buckeye State received $2,500 each out of the state’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding.

As a second wave of the virus looms, and guidance to limit capacity and hours remains in place, those kinds of businesses may have a dark winter ahead.

“We will take anything we can get right now, anything will help,” Marianne Powell of Pickle Bill’s Lobster House in Grand River, told another media outlet. “Now that we’re going into the winter months (when outdoor seating is not an option) … it’s going to be a different ballgame.”

But though they may be grateful for the infusion, business owners know it is not long-term help.

The Ohio Restaurant Association says 61 percent of restaurant owners recently surveyed said they will have to close within 9 months if capacity limitations remain in place. Virus numbers in Ohio do not make it look as though restrictions will be lifted any time soon.

In fact, though Gov. Mike DeWine says it seems as though much of the spread right now is happening at private gatherings rather than at restaurants and bars, the possibility of another shutdown still exists.

Restaurant, bar and other small business owners are worried; they are facing a financial uncertainty for which it would have been impossible to plan, and they are getting only the very little help the state government can give them right now.

You know what to do, folks. We jumped to help back in the spring, when take out and delivery options were the only way we could help the establishments we love, and which are such vital parts of our community. It’s time to do it again.

Without our support, nearly two-thirds of them might not be here this time next year. Do what you can to stop that from happening.

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