Businesses react to Ohio’s plan to lift health orders

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Local businesses are welcoming Ohio’s plan to lift coronavirus health orders in less than three weeks.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Wednesday all state health orders will be lifted effective June 2, including required masking, distancing, sanitization, and more.

Businesses, including restaurants and stores, have had to follow and enforce the orders for more than a year. Businesses will still have the option to make and enforce their own rules, including a mask requirement.

“I was excited, not only for me as an operator, but for the staff,” said Chef Rocco Whalen, owner of Fahrenheit Cleveland.

He said he plans to remove plexiglass barriers at his restaurant’s bar and increase capacity. Masks will be optional for patrons but remain mandated among staff.

“I’m very thankful I can stand here and talk to you and I’m on the other side of this almost,” Whalen said. “So many restaurants have closed, so many restaurants have shuttered, not knowing what the future held.”

Sam McNulty, owner of several Cleveland restaurants including Market Garden Brewery, said the restaurants will remove social distancing restrictions and no longer require masking when the orders are lifted.

“The entire team is ready to take the masks off, we’ve all been vaccinated, we’re ready to seize the day and go boldly forward,” McNulty said.

He said he anticipates an increase in business as the restrictions loosen.

“Our job is to bring people happily together with beer and food and revelry and good times,” McNulty said.

Changes are also coming to salons like Dino Palmieri.

“I think it will be good for our business,” hairstylist Nicole Thomas said. “I think it will bring more people out.”

Owner Dino Palmieri said the business plans to remove mask mandates and will be able to schedule more appointments without the orders.

“It’s really hard to design a style for a client when you can’t see the full shape of their face,” Thomas said.

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