What restaurants and foodservice businesses need to know.
March 15, 2020

This is an update on the 2019-nCoV Coronavirus issue and related topics.  
Memo to ORA members and Ohio’s restaurant, foodservice and hospitality community:

Gov. Mike DeWine announced today that restaurants, foodservice establishments and any other establishments such as bars and catering centers may no longer serve guests wishing to be seated and dine inside.

This order takes effect at 9:00 pm on Sunday, March 15, 2020 in reaction to the evolving COVID-19 Coronavirus health crisis. There is no timetable for when this order will end.

Foodservice locations, which total more than 22,000 in the state of Ohio, are allowed to continue providing food to customers via takeout, drive-thru, curbside pickup and delivery.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said the administration is focused on aggressive economic measures to support businesses and employees impacted by this action, including worker’s unemployment. The governor is going to sign an executive order regarding unemployment compensation for workers impacted by business layoffs or closings.

Individuals who are quarantined are also able to take advantage of this change. The State will be waiving the normal one-week delay for applying for unemployment. For more details click here or call 877.644.6562.

For information on the Governor's statement, click here .

ORA in constant contact with DeWine administration

  • Gov. DeWine and Lt. Gov. Husted have been in constant communication with the ORA to discuss this announcement and potential additional steps to limit the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus and additional ways the state can alleviate the impact on businesses and employees. We appreciate the direct partnership with the administration.

  • The ORA requested that the State of Ohio allow restaurants to remain open until the State believes a next step may be required.

  • We asked for and successfully received an exemption from the State to specifically allow restaurants and foodservice locations to continue to offer takeout, curbside pickup and delivery of food to customers.

  • This is important considering that approximately 50 percent of the U.S. food dollar comes through the restaurant industry.

Restaurants now focus on internal operations – for takeout, drive-thru, curbside pickup and delivery

  • Restaurants should focus on heightened internal operations to ensure cleanliness of back-of-the house and front-of-the house, food preparation and packaging for:
  • Takeout
  • Curbside pickup
  • Drive-thru
  • Delivery

  • We encourage all foodservice establishments to double down on cleanliness standards and procedures as outlined by ServSafe.

Update on Coronavirus in Ohio

  • The DeWine administration is concerned about gatherings that were likely to occur on St. Patrick’s Day on May 17, 2020.   

  • The CDC states that people should stay at least 6 feet (or two meters) away from anyone who appears sick to minimize the risk of getting the new coronavirus. Read more.

  • As of Sunday at 2:00PM in Ohio, there were 36 confirmed cases, up from 26 on Saturday, 139 negative cases, and 350 individuals under investigation. There are confirmed cases in the following counties across the state: Cuyahoga, Stark, Belmont, Butler, Summit, Trumbull, Franklin and Lorain. 

  • The governor has already banned mass gatherings of 100 people or more and taken other steps to prevent large gatherings of people.

  • The order will be signed by Health Director Amy Acton on Sunday, the governor said at a Statehouse news conference.
  • "This is a very, very crucial time," he said. "Delay means more people will die. Literally every day we delay, the data clearly shows more people will die."

  • The governor said he is aware that this order will be devastating for many small businesses, and result in many Ohioans losing their jobs. He said, however, the step is essential.

This is clearly an unprecedented time in U.S. history and challenging for all Americans and Ohioans. The ORA will continue to provide regular updates via our direct communications, our website and social media.

Please contact us directly (see below) with comments or questions.

We are also exploring all possible federal, state and local relief and economic stimulus options, and plan to share those as quickly as possible.

Our ORA team is resetting our internal operations to focus primarily on communications, support for restaurants and relief opportunities. Our business concerns are focused on helping owners/operators, employees and consumers.    

We are all in this together and appreciate your thoughtful input and support.

John Barker
President & CEO
Ohio Restaurant Association

For any questions, please contact the following ORA staff:

For questions, related to the members and restaurant community:
President & CEO
Managing Director of Membership & Employer/Food Safety

Managing Director of External Affairs & Government Relations


Manager of Media & Communications
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