With the new restrictions in place, if you want to eat out your only options are carry-out or outdoor seating. Some diners may head to Ohio, where they still allow folks to dine-in until the 10 p.m. curfew, which starts Thursday.
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“It makes it really tough on these restaurants in this area,” said Brad Jennings of AJ’s Doolittles in Bedford Township.
Some restaurant owners near the border are concerned diners will ditch the idea of carry out and head south to the Buckeye State.
“Some days are better than others. Some days it is hard to break even,” said Alex Renius of the Mason Jar Tap & Grill.
AJ’s Doolittles and Mason Jar Tap & Grill are nearly across the street from each other in Bedford Township. Both restaurants are just a few miles from Ohio, where dining in is still allowed.
The border is so close to the restaurants, you can hop in your car and get to Ohio in just a few minutes. That means those who are looking to dine in or hang out at a bar, don’t have to go far.
“I’m just going to go to Ohio,” Jennings says he’s heard diners say.
Right now, for both restaurants, business has been down about 50%.
A three-week dine-in pause will especially be difficult since they were looking forward to one of the busiest bar and restaurant nights of the year: the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
Both places, that can host a lot of folks will now stay empty inside.
“The size of our restaurant and carry out only? It’s impossible,” Jennings explained.
Renius says the new restaurant restrictions are going to hurt employees.
“That’s the worst part, just having to lay off some people,” he said.
Jennings added, “We have Christmas in another month and that’s concerning to us.”
Since Ohio does not have similar restrictions in place like Michigan, Jennings says he wishes the governors from both states were on the same page.
“Should discuss and implement the same restrictions,” he said.
Restaurant owners are urging folks to support their local businesses during this difficult time.