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Local restaurants adjust to life without dine-in customers due to coronavirus

Businesses in Ohio now have to adhere to new rules and only offer carry-out and delivery services.

CLEVELAND — Going out to eat at a restaurant is no longer an option for Ohioans after sweeping changes to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in communities.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Sunday that he is issuing an order to close all Ohio bars and restaurants due to concerns surrounding the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

RELATED: Gov. Mike DeWine orders the closing of all Ohio restaurants and bars, carry-out to still be available

Starting at 9 p.m. Sunday evening, businesses had to adhere to new rules – only able to offer carry-out and delivery services. Patrons are no longer allowed to dine-in. Owners and managers are now doing their best to maintain staff.

“Until the governor had put the ban on restaurants, Edwins Restaurant in Shaker Square was steady,” said Brandon Chrostowski, Founder and CEO of Edwins Restaurant and Edwins Butcher Shop and Bakery. He has tried his best to be creative to make sure employees aren’t out of work – extending hours when others are cutting back.

“We’re now open 7 days at the Butcher shop and bakery. It requires using staff at the restaurant that would normally be at the restaurant that we don’t need,” he said. “The goal is to retain and maintain as much staff as possible.”

Chrostowski is using many of his staff in atypical roles. For instance, a valet driver may now be on the delivery team and a server may work the counter at the butcher shop.

But not all restaurants owners have the luxury or ability to shift employees into alternative roles. Instead they have sent workers home while they work to develop delivery options and ramp up carry-out business.

Monday, many customers were still trying to deal with the changes.

Luke Vonfeldt is in town from Georgia picking up his daughter who was told to leave her dorm at a local college. For a meal, he thought he’d sit inside a soup shop. Instead, he ate in his car.

When I went inside, all the chairs were up on the table,” Vonfeldt recalled.  “You’ve got to eat outside, so I just ate in the car.”

Nearby, others ate outside on a makeshift patio – enduring the cold weather – to enjoy a meal together.

“It’s weird, this last week especially. It’s been very strange. Just trying to stay positive about it.”

Restaurants and bars will likely struggle to maintain revenue under the new rules. For that reason, owners are counting on the community to support them during this time of uncertainty – a message amplified by Ohio Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted.

“Please make sure that you use their services,” said Husted in a Monday press conference. “You’ll want them to be there when we get through this economically.”

Chrostowski says he’s doing what he can to support the community and, so far, they’ve been supportive of Edwins.

“We’re living in an interesting time," Christowski spoke of the Coronavirus pandemic. "We’ve braced ourselves for what’s next, at least what we think is next. We’re hoping for the best and assuming the worst.”

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