The coronavirus pandemic has brought a lot of pressure for small businesses like restaurants and bars serving craft beer. Mike DeWine, Governor of Ohio, has imposed a lockdown on home dining since March. This stirred the rumor about a 2nd shutdown in early November.
Nonetheless, DeWine put a stop to this rumor on 17th November which brought relief to small businesses. There will not be any shutdown as of now. However, there will be a 3-week curfew from 10 pm to 5 am.
On 13th November, before the press release of DeWine, the Craft Brewers Association of Ohio issued a statement. They requested DeWine not to impose any further shutdown. Mary MacDonald, the executive director, made the appeal herself. Their group owns non-traditional bars, taprooms, breweries, and brewpubs of craft beer.
Craft Beer Makers Ensure Safety Measures
MacDonald has emphasized the remarkable safety measures, 359 craft beer manufacturing factories in Ohio have taken for their staff and patrons. She further added that the craft breweries have been strictly following the guidelines mentioned by the health department. They also conduct UV disinfection and advanced air filtration techniques.
The Health Department of Columbus has reported that almost 95% of the restaurants and bars have been following the guidelines issued by the state.
MacDonald clearly stated that a 2nd shutdown will shatter the craft beer industry and destroy numerous small businesses.
Eric Kuebler, Laird Arcade Brewery of Tiffin co-owner, has said unless the government is willing to offer more funds and defer loans, they can’t afford another shutdown.
MacDonald also added that the rise in coronavirus cases was due to increased private gatherings without safety measures. Reopenings of bars should not primarily be held responsible. This is argued by Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID Director.
Fauci said that since Ohio is presently a red state, they cannot reopen schools and bars simultaneously and has to make a choice.
As a result, Seneca County decided to close all schools. 2 schools in the district of Tiffin City, are following a mixed-mode. The ones in Old Fort, Seneca East, and Hopewell-Loudon are following the same rule. The schools of Fostoria City are completely closed.
To Keep Breweries Open Or Not?
Several reports since September have shown that the reopening of restaurants and bars has led to two times increase in COVID-19 cases. Although MacDonald insisted craft beer factories are the safest places because of constant cleaning and exceptional sanitation practices.
Out of the numerous reasons to keep the bars and breweries open is employment. Since the Ohio craft beer industry employed over 8,000 workers before the pandemic began, they must remain open to avoid lay-offs. Under the present scenario, over one-third of breweries might be closed in one year if there is another shutdown, leading to more unemployed citizens.
OCBA and MacDonald have suggested the government, to postpone the collection of sales taxes and license fees of the state that will aid the small businesses.
With or without a shutdown, breweries require government funding and better management of the COVID-19 pandemic. This will help in normalizing the situation faster.