MEDINA COUNTY, Ohio — Restaurants across the state are preparing to serve customers in person as state orders restricting outdoor and dine in services will soon be lifted. As restaurant owners try to meet new state guidelines for the search for social distancing barriers to help keep employees and customers safe is leading many of them to a glass company based in Medina.
Before the pandemic, the Medina Glass Company was doing a lot of commercial work focusing on mirrors and shower doors. Now, the requests from restaurants are pouring in forcing its staff to fill orders for customized barriers and shields.
“We kind of had to put a lot of the other stuff on hold just so we can focus on getting business is back open,” said store manager Brian Keltz. “A lot of them are asking for advice from us on what they can do as far as you know how they can set things up to where they can still function and protect everybody. Some of them are coming up with her own ideas which is fine and then we assist them from there on.”
Keltz says the demand for plastic barriers is higher than ever before.
“The majority of what we’re doing is quarter inch acrylic, chloracrylic or poly carbonate which is more of an unbreakable similar type of product,” he said. “They are totally protected I mean there’s no penetration germs or saliva or anything like that as far as that goes they can be sterilized which is also a good thing.”
His team has already created and installed these barriers for at least 25 restaurants across the state for carry out services. Now, they’re preparing for a surge in requests for in-house dining services.
“The safety part is the number one priority but there’s some of them that have special needs,” Keltz said.
According to the Medina County Health Department, there are about 638 restaurants with dining capabilities across the county. A spokesperson sent a statement saying:
Guidelines set by the state were designed to be flexible to meet the needs of each unique situation. Restaurant owners in Medina County are implementing these based on their individual businesses. On request, the Health Department is working to help restaurant owners and staff work through these guidelines to make changes that will best serve their business while keeping their staff and customers safe, and will continue to do so as needed. The food service community in Medina County is committed to re-opening to again provide our residents with great food in an environment where they can feel confident their safety is top of mind.
As the pandemic continues, Keltz says the demand for safety barriers will soon leave them out of stock, despite the cost averaging about $130 for a four by 30 inch customized barrier.
“We’ve pretty much contacted all the suppliers in the Cleveland area and they’re all telling us the same thing they’re out until June,” he said. “It’s going to be one of those things where you’re going to be able to get it for a certain amount of time and you’re gonna have to wait or come up with a Plan B.”