Some Ohio businesses ‘dead in the water’ without reopening dates

Local businesses speak with Ohio task force

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - As Ohio businesses reopen around the state, many are still left waiting on guidance from Columbus.

Some of those businesses met virtually with the state’s reopening task force Monday in an effort to communicate about where to go from here. It proved both instructive and encouraging, but questions remain.

The businesses in question have not been deemed essential and do not have reopening plans. They includes youth basketball leagues, like those in the Greater Cincinnati region basketball run by West Chester’s James Deaton.

Deaton says 85 percent of his business’s revenue comes between March and the end of summer. Right now, it’s missing.

Still, the primary concern Deaton articulated to state representatives Monday was for the families that participate in his leagues, many of which are now looking to play out of state.

“Many organizations are telling me, if we do not open up in Ohio, they are going to travel to play starting June 14," Deaton explains, citing Indiana’s opening date for summer leagues. “That means many are going to go and come back. (...) They will drive back and forth to Indianapolis each day of a tournament"

Deaton continued: “We found out that 80 percent of our teams are willing to travel to Indiana to play and come back home. I brought that up to the economic task force, because that completely defeats the purpose of what the governor’s trying to do."

Tri-State business owner fighting to bring back youth sports

Businesses like Deaton’s want a firm reopening date. Right now, they don’t have one, let alone rules or guidelines.

For Laura Fisher, that makes a difficult situation even worse.

Fisher owns The Marmalade Lily in Loveland, an event venue that’s been closed since the governor’s stay-at-home order was issued.

“It has been really hard,” she said. “I stand to lose 90 percent of my revenue this year. So far, I have lost about $35-40,000.”

As restaurants are allowed to reopen indoor dining, Fisher waits to hear when her venue will be able to follow suit.

“The idea of using best practices that restaurants right now, can we do that? Would be be able to do that?" Fisher mused. "The answer is, yes.”

Fisher is frustrated by the lack of guidance coming from Columbus.

“There has been nothing," she said. “When brides call me and ask if the invitations should go out, I really don’t know what to say.”

Fisher voiced her concerns on the virtual call Monday. She hopes she was heard; the future of her business depends on it.

“We can barely float through 2020. We had an emergency fund in place as a small business owner," she said. "But come 2021, we are dead in the water.”

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