COLUMBUS – The Ohio Restaurant Association will partner with restaurants across the state on Nov. 16-20 to host Dine Safe Across Ohio, a campaign to support Ohio’s struggling restaurant industry and promote the Ohio Restaurant Employee Relief Fund.
“Our restaurants and bars continue to face insurmountable challenges, especially as we move into the cooler weather months,” said John Barker, the Ohio Restaurant Association’s president and CEO. “Most restaurants across the state are navigating capacity issues due to social distancing requirements, lower sales, higher costs, financial losses, talent pool issues and political hurdles. ORA’s consistent goal has been to support and recognize those who make our dining experience memorable and enjoyable – from the owners and operators to the bartenders, servers, chefs and dishwashers – and that’s exactly what Dine Safe Across Ohio is intended to do.”
During Dine Safe Across Ohio, restaurants will be encouraged to provide special offers and promotions during the weeklong event. Guests are encouraged to support their local restaurants by dining in that week and to also consider contributing to the Ohio Restaurant Employee Relief Fund. To provide clarity about the comprehensive steps the industry takes to provide a safe environment, the Ohio Restaurant Association created the Ohio Restaurant Promise earlier this year. In addition, the Ohio Restaurant Association recently gathered restaurant owners and operators from across the state to join together and share what they are doing to keep their valued guests safe.
The Ohio Restaurant Employee Relief Fund was created by the Ohio Restaurant Association and its education foundation to activate emergency funding for personnel in the foodservice industry who have been affected by COVID-19. Since its launch in April, the fund has awarded more than 1,100 grants and fundraised more than $350,000 for employees in need.
The Ohio Restaurant Association is conducting a bi-weekly statewide poll on the health of restaurants across Ohio to gauge the effects of COVID-19 on the industry. The most recent poll reveals that at current capacity, about half of Ohio restaurant operators think they will be forced to close within nine months and 82% of respondents do not anticipate breaking even in 2020.
“Week after week, the results of our restaurant poll continue to be devastating and display the need for initiatives like Dine Safe Across Ohio,” Barker said. “As more and more restaurants worry for their survival, the ORA is urging Ohioans to dine out or take out to help out during the event dates, but also moving forward into the winter.”
There is no cost to restaurants to participate in Dine Safe Across Ohio. Restaurants who want to participate in this weeklong event can register at ohiorestaurant.org/dinesafeohioweek.
Additional information on Dine Safe Across Ohio can be found on the Ohio Restaurant Association’s Facebook page. To learn more about how to contribute to the Ohio Restaurant Employee Relief Fund or to make a direct donation, visit ohiorestaurantsrelief.org.