Cleveland bars and restaurants already feeling strain under new coronavirus orders


CLEVELAND (WJW) — Three nights into a three week curfew, Cleveland bars and restaurants say they are already feeling an impact. Ohioans are being asked to stay at home after 10 p.m., unless it’s for something essential or an emergency.

“Thursday, as well as last night, the sales have been 50% of what they were a week ago,” said Dominic Fanelli, owner of Chocolate Bar on Euclid Avenue in downtown Cleveland.

He says it shows Ohio’s state-wide curfew is having an immediate financial impact on some restaurants.

“Twenty-one days, three weeks, 10 p.m., retail establishments need to be closed and people should be home,” said Gov. Mike DeWine when he announced the curfew on Tuesday.

The 10 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew went into effect Thursday. DeWine says it allows the state to slow down and not shut down, in an effort to slow the exponential spread of COVID-19.

The curfew includes exceptions for things like going to or from work, getting groceries or take-out food.

“We had our patrons leave by 9:45 in the evening now, 9:45 so they could be home by 10 and then we’re offering take-out after 10, and the streets of downtown Cleveland were totally empty,” said Fanelli.

“We could be on track for 1,000 or 2,000 cases a day in the coming weeks … what is certain is that cases have skyrocketed and we have to slow down this train to save lives,” said Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner Terry Allan during a Friday virtual news briefing.

“We have to act the way we would in the face of any life-threatening emergency,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish, at the same briefing.

The city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, like many jurisdictions in Northeast Ohio, have stay-at-home advisories in effect. Officials strongly urge people not to gather in groups outside of immediate family members and to only leave home for essential reasons or emergencies.

“If we don’t do these things, if we don’t follow the guidance of our Board of Health, the suffering and deaths will increase beyond belief,” Budish said.

Many restaurant owners say a curfew is better than a total shutdown. They are also asking people to follow the health guidelines to get the virus under control, not only to save lives, but their livelihoods as well.

“We have to get through this … all businesses, restaurants and bars need to survive this,” said Fanelli.

Dominic Fanelli says Chocolate Bar will be providing flu shots to all of its employees next week.   Health officials urge everyone to get a flu shot this season, as another way to ease the already-strained healthcare system.

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