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Some Cincinnati Restaurant Owners Say They Need Financial Help

Tana Weingartner

Cincinnati area restaurants have been forced to lay off or furlough thousands of workers because of the state order closing their dining rooms to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Those that can are offering carryout or delivery, but that's been difficult because people aren't leaving their homes. 

Britney Ruby Miller said Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment was forced to lay off 600 workers this week.  She was one of four restaurant representatives attending a news conference Friday with Mayor John Cranley.

She's asking state and federal leaders for a bailout to keep the industry alive.

"We raise the capital. We sustain the business for now. We open our doors and we have 100% of our employees back because they are our family," Ruby Miller said. "They are our restaurant family, I can't even tell you how amazing it is to have a restaurant family to rely on."

Via Vite has gone from 170 employees down to seven; 4EG had 350 people and most of those are now laid off; and Taste of Belgium had 262 employees and is now at less than 20.

Ruby Miller and the mayor are suggesting people buy gift cards to their favorite restaurants now because it provides immediate cash to those businesses.

Cranley said he's asked Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine for state help for restaurants and spoke with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown for federal help.

Meanwhile, the city health commissioner and the mayor issued a new emergency order for restaurants:

"I hereby order that restaurants and other establishments remaining open because they are providing only carryout service develop and submit a plan that establishes how the restaurants will comply with all state and local orders, including social distancing, while providing carryout service."

The department said food service employees who are sick should stay home. It also asks employees to wash hands frequently, clean and disinfect high-touch areas frequently, change gloves often, and practice social distancing.

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Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.