Restaurant openings move ahead amid uncertainty and a local venue memorializes the death of a longtime music promoter

As Ohio restaurants set to resume outdoor dining on Friday (indoor service can resume Thursday, May 21), some outlets have responded with celebratory, since-edited posts about the desire to “Eat, Drink and Be Merry.” Forbes, meanwhile, offered an opinion column positing “The 4 Reasons Why Reopening Could Crush the Restaurant Industry.”

Among the reasons given, the author explores what might happen if an outbreak is be traced to a particular restaurant or chain, and what that could mean for the long-term future of the eatery as it is forced to fight a PR battle amid an already uncertain economic future.

Additionally, in the wake of Gov. Mike DeWine’s dining announcement last week, some local restaurants expressed reservations about the plan. “DeWine has no idea what it’s like to own a restaurant. This is such a bad idea,” Yellow Brick Pizza co-owner Bobby Silver wrote in a public Facebook post. “Outside of being inconvenient, this is going to take lives and/or make people sick. Now we can look forward to that second wave during summer.”

Silver added that the shop would now enforce a mandatory mask policy for anyone entering a Yellow Brick location.

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With states beginning to open for business despite a still-growing number of coronavirus cases, the White House is currently dealing with its own COVID-19 outbreak, which Trump officials worry could derail his messaging that the virus is under control. “We have to get our country open again,” President Donald Trump said last week, even as the number of deaths in the U.S. is set to pass 80,000, accounting for one in every three COVID-19 deaths worldwide. Witnessing scenes like this one, it’s easy to imagine things will get much, much worse before they get better.

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Mary Coffmon, the founder and CEO of Columbus Events Group (CEG) and a longtime promoter at Alrosa Villa, died on Saturday. In a Facebook post, venue personnel described Coffmon as a pillar of the music community, writing, “Thank You Mary for making the ALROSA what it is today.” In tribute, the venue memorialized Coffmon on its marquee, which currently reads, “Remember Mary Coffmon today.”

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Have you ever heard of the Chill-Can? No? You’re not alone. This fascinating ProPublica feature (which includes photographs from Alive contributor Maddie McGarvey) delves into the backstory of the self-chilling can that Youngstown has already gambled millions of dollars on. More than three years later, the product has yet to create even a single job, according to a recent city report.