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

March 24, 2020

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, 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

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

Bars across Ohio were doing quite well to start the year, with revenue consistently spiking above 2019’s averages. Again, however, you see sales start to drop on March 12th.

OH bar/lounge sales, YTD

Sales plummeted to a low-point on the 15th. They did rebound somewhat, even after the state instituted a “takeout and delivery” ordinance to all Ohio bars and restaurants, but sales still lag consistently behind 2019’s figures.

We also expect to see sales continue to fall as we receive and process data closer to March 23rd’s stay-at-home order issued by the Ohio Department of Health.

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

Sales first began to dip on March 9th, then began a free fall all the way down to a -266% 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


Sales jumped up to a 29% 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 74% increase on March 16th after all bars and restaurants in the state closed to “takeout or delivery only.”

We expect to see another major spike once our grocery store data gets closer to Ohio’s March 23rd stay-at-home order, so stay tuned.

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

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.

Ohio’s 463% increase was one of the biggest statewide spikes we’ve seen so far, so keep an eye on what this chart reveals as we receive and process data closer to March 23rd’s stay-at-home 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. 

If you run a business, check out for free resources and access to no-interest capital with flexible repayment terms. 

Also, check out our additional reports detailing how businesses in other states have been impacted by the coronavirus:

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