Local business owners optimistic for end of Ohio’s coronavirus health orders


CLEVELAND (WJW) — Business owners are reacting favorably to Thursday’s announcement by Governor Mike DeWine that all coronavirus health orders could soon be lifted.

The governor said he’d lift all orders if COVID-19 case numbers fall below 50 per 100,000 people for two straight weeks.

“Honestly, like overjoyed,” said Sam McNulty founder and co-owner of Market Garden Brewery. “It’s been this slow burn of optimism growing and growing every day.”

McNulty and his partner were already taking steps to reopen their five businesses on March 10, including Bar Cento and Nano Brew bringing back approximately two hundred employees.

“One of the best calls I’ve made in a long time was calling the team back and saying that it’s time to get back to work, let’s get open, let’s reopen Ohio City,” said McNulty.

Chef Rocco Whalen who also owns several establishments, including the popular restaurant Fahrenheit in Tremont, said, “I’m more than excited obviously.”

Whalen also complimented the governor on his handling of the pandemic and the need to continue being smart.

He also complimented Ohioans for pulling together and doing such a great job slowing the spread of COVID-19, when things aren’t going as well in North Carolina where another one of his restaurants is located.

“We’re headed in the right direction,” said Whalen. “We are more than patient because we want to do the right thing because we want to reopen fully for good, with no more restrictions, no more curfews, and let people enjoy themselves in the Cleveland fashion that we know and love.”

Lifting all of the orders would also bring new vibrancy across Northeast Ohio, but especially in downtown Cleveland.

Not only will maximum capacities once again be permitted at venues like Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and Progressive Field, but people will be able to return to their jobs too.

“What we also hope to see in the coming months is the return of office workers,” said Joe Marinucci, President & CEO of the Downtown Cleveland Alliance. “As the good news comes out with both vaccinations and smaller rates of infection, that’s going to cause people to come back downtown to the workforce.”

Even when things return to normal they say, people can expect many safety measures to stay in place until such time as the virus is no longer a threat.

“One of the big ones that’s going to stay permanently is ultraviolet filtration,” said McNulty. “So UV lights in our air handling units so same technology that the Cleveland Clinic uses to their indoor air and sanitize their reusable PPE.”

Although it’s unclear how long it might take to reach the numbers DeWine has set, they say just knowing there is a plan is fantastic news.

“You know what it means for the city is another opportunity for us people to feel comfortable in their own shoes,” said Whalen. “To get back to a normal way of life, go out enjoy themselves, go out go to a ballgame have a hot dog, cracker jack all those things involved in whole umbrella of this.”

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