Many businesses have been affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) public-health crisis, including dine-in restaurants and bars. Last week, Governor Mike DeWine ordered that sit-down service inside restaurants and bars be suspended, although these businesses could remain open for carry-out and delivery services.

In McArthur, the popular downtown gathering spot, Mama Renie’s Pizza, initially attempted to adjust to the restrictions, but the decision to close temporarily was made this past Sunday evening, March 22, in the immediate wake of the governor’s stay-at-home order. 

Mama Renie’s posted the following closing related message on its Facebook page on Sunday: “For the safety and health of our employees and customers, we will be shutting our doors at 10 tonight. We know how important staying home and social distancing is right now, so we will be reopening on April 6th. We want to thank everyone for their support during this time and we hope to see everyone soon. Stay safe.”

Prior to the closure, Manager Diane Batey and her crew were giving it the old college try in spite of the dine-in and bar restrictions. She told The Telegram that Mama Renie’s was delivering all items on the menu. She noted that customers could order full bottles of beer with their carry-out orders. Their hard-liquor license calls for selling by the drink so it cannot be sold until the state-imposed restrictions are lifted. The business was also accepting take-out orders. However, she also reported the establishment had become unusually quiet in the evening hours as the bar was usually full of customers receiving inside service during that period.

Batey added that the restaurant had lost business because of the restricted courthouse access and the schools being closed as well. The chairs are on the tables and the bar stools are now empty but they are usually filled with customers watching sporting events on television. A bump in their business also comes during the Wild Turkey Festival which occurs the first weekend in May. Batey is concerned if the crisis does not end soon, the festival may be canceled as well.

“We are so busy during the Wild Turkey Festival and everyone looks forward to it,” said Batey. “It is an important part of our business.”

In Wilkesville, the Highway 160 Restaurant remains open and is also accepting takeout orders. Employee Mindy Carano explained the restaurant is serving its entire menu and desserts and invites citizens and people working in the area to stop in and pick up an order to go, including the pizzas.

The restaurant also maintains a Facebook page. Carano says the chairs are stacked on the tables and the restaurant can get a little lonely as she is used to hearing customers talking and telling stories while they eat.  The number to call Highway 160 is 740-669-1304.