The restaurant industry, which was hard hit by the pandemic, is starting to feel more optimistic.
The latest survey from the Ohio Restaurant Association shows 46 percent of bar and restaurant owners say they will break even this year. 38 percent say they are seeing sales growth, and three quarters anticipate numbers approaching normal by late spring or summer.
The latest federal COVID-19 relief package includes 28 billion dollars for independent restaurants. Small and minority owned business will get priority access to 5 billion dollars.
Columbus and many cities across the state allowed bars and restaurants to expand outdoor dining options last fall, to help businesses struggling with COVID capacity regulations. Many businesses are already submitting plans for outdoor spaces in anticipation of warmer weather and customers willingness to eat out.