CLEVELAND — On Friday, restaurants and bars across the state were permitted to reopen their outdoor dining areas. But as images surfaced online over the weekend, many of them were not adhering to the guidelines set forth by Gov. DeWine and State Health officials.
One of the eateries called into question, is popular Ohio City restaurant TownHall. The general manager, Ryan Hartzell, is now also facing backlash after allegedly posting a racist comment on a Facebook post.
In a post, a Facebook user questioned the logic behind visiting the alleged over-crowded restaurant saying " D*mn, imagine risking your life just to eat at TownHall," the post read. That post was later shared by user Taras Ustrytskyy which garnered Hartzell's alleged initial reaction.
"D*amn, imagine risking your life driving a car, walking down stairs, crossing the street, playing in the rain, swimming, hiking, biking, running, sleeping, eating unhealthy foods, being negative living in fear," Hartzell allegedly commented on the shared post.
A series of back-and-forth comments between the two can be seen in screenshots obtained by 3News.
"Imagine being so sensitive & self-centered to think those things equate to being in a public place during a global pandemic breathing on each other, while the place you're at does not following the guidelines for patio seating by having people sit inside but hey, you're right. Imagine. But don't think you're special. That goes for all establishments around town an country. TH ain't the only sh*thole place in this situation. At least you got that going for you," Ustrytskyy retorted.
To which Hartzell is accused of ultimately responding, "We all risk our lives every day on different levels regardless of the virus. Stop with the fear mongering. If you hate this country so much go back to the one you came from," in a since deleted comment.
On Monday, TownHall issued a statement regarding the accusations surrounding Hartzell. While the restaurant acknowledged the comments from Hartzell were insensitive, he would remain employed.
" I know this will not be a popular decision,but as a leader I think it's important to not crucify a good person based on one misstep, " the statement read.
Read the full statement from TownHall in the post below: