How have Ohio restaurants, bars, supermarkets and other businesses been impacted by COVID-19?

In this article:

  • How are sales at local restaurants, bars, lodging places, retail shops, and supermarkets across Ohio faring amid the COVID-19 outbreak?

Ohio reported its first cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on March 9th, 2020, and on that same day Governor Mike DeWine declared a state of emergency. Since then, state and local officials ramped up restrictions across the state in an effort to stem the spread of the virus.

The Womply Research team has been analyzing revenue trends at millions of small, local businesses across the country. We’re trying to size up the COVID-19 crisis’ impact on local businesses like restaurants, retail shops, lodging places, supermarkets, entertainment venues, and more.

Ohio has been frequently pointed to as a state that has taken especially proactive measures to combat the coronavrius outbreak. This report examines exactly *how much* Ohio businesses have been impacted by the spread of the virus, and by efforts to contain it.

About this report: The charts below automatically update every day. They show a daily view of average 2020 revenue for Ohio businesses in a particular category compared to the closest day of the week in 2019. 

Check back regularly to see how the local business economy in Ohio is faring. 

Sales fell rapidly at Ohio restaurants

The chart below shows all revenue for restaurants across the state of Ohio each day of 2020 compared to the same time in 2019. As you can see, restaurant sales appeared to be mostly unaffected through February and into early March.

OH restaurant sales, YTD

This chart includes only data from restaurants that are still open and transacting. Each day represents a comparison of average daily revenue at open restaurants vs. a comparable day in 2019.

Sales dropped by 8% on March 9th, after Ohio declared a state of emergency. They rebounded slightly the next day, suggesting locals shrugged off the declaration somewhat.

Sales began to drop again on March 12th, likely in reaction to Governor DeWine announcing statewide school closings (the first state in the country to do so), and to Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton instituting a ban of gatherings of more than 100 people.

By March 16th, the first full day that Ohio bars and restaurants were closed to dine in services only, sales had dropped all the way to 46% below 2019’s levels.

Ohio bars have followed a similar trend as restaurants

Our research has shown that over 60% of bars have closed their doors or stopped transacting entirely. Because the chart below compares average revenue at bars that are still open and transacting, each data point does not reflect the revenue impact on the ~60% of bars that were closed or not transacting at all.

As a result, you’ll see days where it appears sales at Ohio bars have returned to normal after COVID, so it’s important to remember this is only a view into revenue at those bars who have managed to remain open despite Ohio having ordered bars remain closed to restrict the spread of the coronavirus.

OH bar/lounge sales, YTD

This chart includes only data from bars that are still open and transacting. Each day represents a comparison of average daily revenue at open bars vs. a comparable day in 2019.

Sales plummeted to a low-point on the 15th. Since then, revenue has followed a consistent pattern: dropping significantly on weekends (when bars typically do most of their business), then rising to somewhat lower drops on weekdays (when bars would normally be slow anyway).

Travel restrictions and coronavirus fears have crushed lodging places in Ohio

Hotels, motels, and other lodging places across the country have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus. Amidst travel restrictions and shelter in place orders, the travel industry is really taking it on the chin, and Ohio is no exception.

OH lodging sales, YTD

This chart includes only data from lodging places that are still open and transacting. Each day represents a comparison of average daily revenue at open lodging places vs. a comparable day in 2019.

Sales first began to dip on March 9th, then began a free fall all the way down to a -256% decrease vs 2019 on March 15th.

How can there be a decrease of more than 100%, you ask? The answer: refunds. As customers called to cancel bookings, lodging places across the state were clearly forced to issue massive amounts of refunds, making things even more painful for local hotels and motels.

Ohio supermarkets have seen a surge in sales

Of course, in times of crisis some businesses are decimated while others are overrun. And as Americans have been clearing out supermarkets and grocery stores in preparation for lockdowns and social isolation.

Here’s how things have shaken out so far at Ohio grocery stores and supermarkets:

OH grocery sales, YTD

This chart includes only data from grocery stores that are still open and transacting. Each day represents a comparison of average daily revenue at open grocery stores vs. a comparable day in 2019.

Sales jumped up to a 36% increase on March 13th in the wake of Ohio canceling schools and banning gatherings of more than 100 people. Then jumped all the way to a 78% increase on March 16th after all bars and restaurants in the state closed to “takeout or delivery only.”

Ohioans have been clearing the shelves at liquor stores

The bounce in sales at Ohio supermarkets pales in comparison to what liquor stores in the Buckeye State have experienced.

OH liquor store sales, YTD

This chart includes only data from liquor stores that are still open and transacting. Each day represents a comparison of average daily revenue at open liquor stores vs. a comparable day in 2019.

Sales more than doubled at Ohio liquor stores on March 12th, but that pales in comparison to what happened on the 16th. After bars and restaurants were restricted to takeout only, sales skyrocketed to a wild 463% increase compared to 2019. Sales remained more than 200% above 2019’s figures for the next three days as well.

Ohioans cleared out shelves at liquor stores once again on March 22nd, as sales shot back up to a 326% increase the day state officials announced a shelter in place order.

Just the beginning for turbulent times in Ohio

Ohio has been singled out as one of the most proactive states in the country when it came to taking early measures to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. While Ohioans hope these measures will help to soften the impact of the virus, it’s clear that small businesses across the state, and in its major metropolitan areas in particular, are likely to continue to struggle for the foreseeable future. Especially as the state continues to “shelter in place” in order to combat the spread of the virus.

We will update the data in this post on a daily basis and add analysis as the story changes. In the meantime, we’re rooting for local businesses in Ohio and across the country to weather the storm. 

Visit our COVID-19 research and resources page for more reports on the impact of coronavirus on local businesses

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