Mayor John Cranley supports bailout for struggling restaurants closed during coronavirus crisis

Posted at 10:13 PM, Mar 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-21 02:30:02-04

Editor’s note: With our coronavirus coverage, our goal is not to alarm you but to equip you with the information you need. We will try to keep things in context and focus on helping you make decisions. See a list of resources and frequently asked questions at the end of this story.

CINCINNATI - Mayor John Cranley showed support for restaurant owners and workers – some of the people hardest hit economically by the coronavirus crisis - at City Hall Friday.

Cranley gave credit to restaurants for spurring the city’s renaissance and said he supported the Ohio Restaurant Association’s request for a bailout to save the industry.

Speaking at a news conference, Via Vite Executive Chef Cristian Pietoso said he had 107 employees last week before Gov. Mike DeWine ordered restaurants and bars closed to try to stop the spread of the virus.

He had to lay off almost everyone.

“I’m down to seven or eight,” Pietoso said.

“When I first arrived in Cincinnati on March 2, 2004, this city had very little to offer in terms of culinary scene,” Pietoso said. "There were very few chefs and restaurateurs brave enough to think outside the box.

Now, he said, “The city has bloomed so much. We've seen this incredible transformation ... and quality restaurants are the lifeblood of the city.

”When this passes, restaurants and bars are going to need relief to get over this,” Pietoso said.

The National Restaurant Association is asking the federal government for a $225 billion bailout, saying the industry employs one out of 10 Americans and will go under without massive assistance.

In addition, the Ohio Restaurant Association is asking the state for low-interest loans, lease/rent and utility holidays, and tax relief, according to the Dayton Daily News. It also wants unemployment compensation equal to workers’ full salaries.

Ohio restaurants are also asking the state to ease regulations to allow alcohol for takeout, curbside and delivery.

Cranley asked Cincinnatians to rally behind local restaurants by ordering delivery or carry out and purchasing gift cards for later use.

“That assurance of future customers will help all of them in this time,” Cranley said.

WCPO 9 is also supporting restaurants and other struggling businesses by launching a new initiative called "We're Open Cincinnati." The goal is to spotlight businesses that are staying open and/or adapting to survive. Go to

Find more coronavirus/COVID-19 hotlines and resources below:


  • Department of Health COVID-19 hotline: 833-4-ASK-ODH
  • See ODH’s COVID-19 resources here.


  • State COVID-19 hotline: 1-800-722-5725
  • See the Cabinet for Health and Family Services coronavirus resource site here.


  • SDH Epidemiology Resource Center: (317) 233-7125 or (317) 233-1325 after hours, or e-mail
  • See more information for coronavirus in Indiana here.

What is coronavirus, COVID-19?

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses are "a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV).

A novel coronavirus, such as COVID-19, is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019 in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 37 locations across the globe, including in the U.S., according to the CDC.

The CDC reports the initial patients in China have some link to a large seafood and live animal market, indicative of animal-to-person spread. A growing number of patients, however, did not report exposure to animal markets, indicating the disease is spreading person-to-person.

What are the symptoms? How does it spread?

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death, according to the CDC. Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath.

The CDC said symptoms could appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. It is similar to the incubation period for MERS.

Spread of the virus is thought to be mainly from person-to-person. Spread is between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). Spread occurs via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

According to the CDC, it could be possible for a person to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, the CDC said.

The disease is most contagious when people are the sickest and showing the most symptoms.