Athens County Restaurant Feels Impact of Gov. DeWine’s Closure Order< < Back to
ALBANY, Ohio (WOUB) — Monday was a bad day for Rachel Cotterill, owner of Ray’s Harvest House in Albany, Ohio.
“I had to call 11 people and tell them that they were laid off until further notice,” she said. “They’re pretty devastated. I’m fortunate enough I have some young kids from the school that still live at home with their parents, but some really depend on this job for their survival, so they’re taking it pretty hard.”
“It’s devastating. It’s all the emotion that a human body can go through all in one day – everything from anger to sadness, it’s just devastation,” she said.
The layoffs are the latest result of a spreading, and deadly, coronavirus that forced Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to close all restaurants and bars Sunday night – indefinitely.
Other than her husband’s retirement, this is the only source of income for Cotterill who has owned the restaurant for the last six years. Her sister Sarah and teen-aged daughter Sydney, also employees, were among those who lost their jobs. Cotterill says she expects them to get unemployment but with all the layoffs statewide, she sees gridlock before any checks are cut.
“I fear that with that, the phone lines are going to be jammed and the unemployment offices are going to be jammed with people trying to reach out right now, so when are they going to get it, I don’t know,” she said.
Cotterill said she fears the layoffs will result in the state bumping up her unemployment insurance rates.
“This is not something that I chose, this is something that was forced upon me by the government. So I don’t think I should be penalized for it because I’m already going to be suffering as a business and as a person – this being my livelihood,” she said.
Under DeWine’s order restaurants are permitted to continue their carryout business but Cotterill’s business, which is geared toward sit-down service, had seen only six carryout customers in two hours Monday morning. Normally that number would be around 30. Her regulars are also upset with the change at the Harvest House.
“They’re upset as well. This is something that they’re used to doing with their lives as well,” she said. “They come in and they have a meal and they gather and they socialize, so it’s disrupting their lives as well.
Of the four remaining employees, Denise Hager spends most of her time in the kitchen cooking. Her hours have been cut, but she’s resigned to the changes.
“I don’t like it, but then again, I don’t have any control,” she said. Mostly she’s is sad that she won’t be able to see any of her regular customers. As for the reduction in hours, she’s sanguine about that too.
“It’s ok, I can go for a while,” she said.
Not everything has changed at the Harvest House. Monday’s special was an open-faced roast beef with mashed potatoes and green beans- for $7.89.