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Cleveland restaurant workers worry what stay at home advisory means for their future

Posted at 7:13 AM, Nov 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-19 07:13:17-05

CLEVELAND — Boris Music is the owner of Hansa Brewery in Cleveland. He's had the doors to the brewery open and the beers flowing for four decades.

“I fell in love with America. I could never dream that anything like this would happen in this country,” he said.

News of the stay at home advisory for Cuyahoga County and the city of Cleveland, announced by County Executive Armond Budish and City Mayor Frank Jackson, has him worried.

“They never cut a paycheck. They don’t understand what it means when a worker loses a job that supports a family,” he said. “This is just terrible.”

Tony Kost, the general manager at Terrestrial Brewing Company has a similar fear—that the advisory will make things go from bad to worse for the restaurant industry.

“How do we make it work? How do we survive through this and, sure, everyone wants to come out and support, but they’re being told not to,” he said.

Budish said the stay at home advisory isn’t a mandate, it’s a message.

“People need to understand that we're at a point where, if this continues, we will not have capacity in the hospitals to treat people that need help,” he said.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Health’s resolution said people are advised only to leave their homes to go to school or work, for essential needs like picking up food or going to the grocery store and for emergency medical care. They also advise people not to travel in and out of the state, to not have people over for Thanksgiving and to limit gatherings to less than 10 people.

But Budish said there won’t be any enforcement for people not following the order.

“This is something that people have to do in order to protect themselves, their family, their friends. You're not going to have police officers going to check on Thanksgiving to see how many people are in your house. You can’t do that, but you need to make sure that you are taking personal responsibility to make sure that you're keeping yourself and your family safe. That's the only way this is going to work,” he said.

Budish said an advisory isn’t perfect, but both city and county leaders along with the board of health knew they had to do something.

“The community can't afford to do nothing, if the community does nothing, people are going to die,” he said.

Kost said he’s not sure there’s a clear right or wrong answer.

“If being more strict about it gets us back to more of a routine way of life, then maybe that’s the right call,” he said.

But Music said the message to stay at home, when restaurants need people to come out and eat, isn’t right.

“They have no idea what they are doing to the community,” he said.

RELATED: Cuyahoga County, Cleveland issue stay-at-home advisory effective Wednesday night through Dec. 17