The Ohio Restaurant Association continues to push Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to allow restaurants to reopen for dine-in business on May 15, but not every restaurateur is in full agreement with the push to begin serving customers in dining rooms that swiftly.
>> HOT TOPIC: Downtown bar owner vows to reopen 'with or without permission'
Here's an opposing viewpoint of sorts, a message written by Cassaundra Spaziani, who helps run Giovanni's Pizzeria é Ristorante Italiano, one of the region's longest-established restaurants, at 215 W. Main St. in Fairborn.
>> ALSO NEW TODAY: Ohio's stay-at-home order extended to May 29, with exceptions
Some background: Giovanni’s was founded in 1953. It was purchased in 1994 by Cassaundra’s father, Tony Spaziani, who doubled the restaurant’s dining space, added a banquet room and opened an in-house bakery. During the coronavirus pandemic that shut down all Ohio restaurant dining rooms effective March 15, Giovanni’s has been serving customers via carryout.
>> ALSO NEW TODAY: Local restaurant highlights for April: New pizza shops open, downtown Indian is on the horizon and a long-time Greek favorite closes
Here’s what Cassaundra Spaziani wrote:
“I think I look at this a little differently than what the Ohio Restaurant Association does. My father still owns Giovanni’s. He is in his 70’s and has preexisting health conditions.”
“Opening May 15th sounds a bit early to us. There’s no denying it is a scary time. And my opinion of what is right seems to change back and forth every hour. It is heartbreaking to see other restaurants close down. It is very tough right now to stay open.”
>> 'Restaurants and bars are floating in purgatory,' one local pub owner says
“We have applied for loans and grants and everything is out of money. We haven’t gotten any help. Sometimes we feel like waving a flag and jumping up and down. ‘Hey guys, remember us?! We’ve been here since 1953! Can’t somebody help us!?’”
But instead, we have dedicated employees who are working so hard to follow standards and to keep business going. We trust what Gov. DeWine is doing so far. We like the slow opening of the state. While this is financially devastating, we have to think of the devastation Ohio could face if DeWine were to be in a hurry to get us back to normal.”
>> Restaurant chain warns of hundreds of layoffs in Ohio
“I appreciate the plan so far, and we have been lucky enough to be calling people back to work, as our sales have been steadily increasing every week. Maybe we are being too cautious, but we believe in waiting. We don’t want any restaurants to close over this, but we certainly don’t want an increase in cases of the virus either.”