ASHLAND -- As Ashland County's Emergency Management Agency leads the transition from a mitigation to a response phase due to COVID-19's initial local appearance, some locally owned businesses have responded in their own ways.
Earlier this week, two popular restaurants along Ashland's Main Street have temporarily closed until further notice.
They had transitioned to carry-out only following an order from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in an effort to decrease the spread of COVID-19, but no order has yet come to require their closure.
Uniontown Brewing Company closed at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 18, and only a short walk down the street, Downtown Perk followed suit Thursday evening.
“After much deliberation and a few tears, we will be temporarily suspending our operations,” the Downtown Perk announced in a Facebook post Thursday. “The safety and health of our patrons and staff is our top priority."
The restaurant, owned by Lisa Lee, thanked customers for their support this past week and their continued support over the years.
"We hope that we can resume doing what we love in a few weeks," the post said.
Doug and Anna Reynolds of Uniontown Brewing Company shared a similar message the night before.
The closure is temporary and "is in no way a reflection of the business we have received from you, our customers," the downtown restaurant said in a Facebook post.
"We have been amazed and overwhelmed by the support you have shown us during this time," the Facebook post continued. "This decision does not come lightly, but the safety and health of our staff and of our patrons is paramount to us."
Uniontown Brewing Company opened in December 2017 to the community's delight and has been a powerful force in Downtown Ashland ever since. The owners had recently partnered with the City of Ashland, Ashland Main Street and the Ashland County Community Foundation to fund a wayfinding initiative, which the entities hoped could address a portion of the parking concerns in downtown.
"Stay safe, and we will see you as soon as this virus is gone, and we can open our doors to you again," Uniontown Brewing's post said.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Those at high risk for illness of COVID-19 are those over 60 with chronic illness or a weakened immune system.
To prevent the spread of disease, health organizations encourage everyone to follow these effective practices:
-- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
-- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
-- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
-- Avoid contact with sick people.
-- Stay home when you are sick.
-- Practice social distancing.
-- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces – doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, etc.
This is a rapidly evolving situation. Information is being shared as it becomes available on the following websites: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus, www.coronavirus.ohio.gov, or www.richlandhealth.org. People with questions about COVID-19 can call the Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 Call Center, 7 days a week from 9AM – 8PM at: 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).