CLEVELAND (WJW)- Wednesday will usher in a new era for many in Ohio as the majority of pandemic health orders issued by the governor and Ohio Department of Health will be lifted statewide.
It’s news many small business owners welcome as some plan to take down social distance signs and open at full capacity.
At the Diner on 55th in Cleveland, owner Demetrios Anagnostos said he is grateful to return to full seating. He said if customers prefer to have a staff member serve them with a mask on, they accommodate the request in order to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome.
“The signs I’m going to leave them up to see what’s going to happen with the people with a mask,” Anagnostos said. “Some they wear a mask, some they don’t but nobody complains.”
COVID-19 health orders will remain in effect for nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Visitors to area hospitals may not notice much of a change: the Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth and University Hospitals will also keep current practices in place.
Health care facilities are not included in recent CDC and state changes for vaccinated people. Masking is still required.
“We’re very happy, we’re happy to go back to normal it’s been a rough year and a couple of months,” said Antoine Gergas, the part owner of Danny’s Deli.
It will return to full capacity on Monday with seating set up the way it was pre-pandemic. A few blocks away at Crust Pizza, there is no immediate plan to make changes.
“We’re still going to keep masks going for a little bit, still have the 6 feet distancing going. We’re fortunate to have patios,” said Michael Griffin, Crust owner.
Griffin said he will leave masking up to customers who are vaccinated. However, the plastic barrier installed on the countertop to separate staff from ordering guests will become a permanent feature.
A challenge for many in the restaurant industry will be keeping up with demand while working with a smaller staff.
“All of a sudden it’s like OK let’s get everybody back going,” Griffin said about the return to full capacity. “Some of those people moved out of town, they went back to school, they changed their job, they went out of state. I mean, so not only is unemployment an issue.”
Business owners can still impose their own best practices, including masking or maintain social distancing if they wish.