Napoleon businesses staying vigilant after outbreak at local winery

Owners say despite following all regulations, social distancing is hard to force on customers in a small town
Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 10:33 PM EDT
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NAPOLEON, Ohio (WTVG) - Henry County is joining others on Ohio’s risk level 3 red zone list.

Governor Mike DeWine said in his announcements Thursday afternoon that in the last two weeks, the county has seen over half of their cases over the course of the entire pandemic. “Many of these cases have been traced back to a “name that tune” event at a local winery which occurred on July 11,” said DeWine. “That has resulted so far in 53 cases. 53 related cases to that outbreak that occurred when people gathered together at the winery.”

That winery was identified by a press release from the Henry County Health Department to be Leisure Time Winery in Napoleon, Ohio. I spoke with the owner over the phone, who says he is still recovering from the virus. The winery has since been professionally disinfected and closed until July 31st, with all future events canceled.

One local resident, Alyssa Norden, says she was at the winery for a different event a day before the outbreak.

“The atmosphere there was great and people were enjoying themselves and the tables and everything seemed properly socially distant,” says Norden. “It’s unfortunate that it had to happen at such a great winery.”

We are cooperating and working closely with our local health department to ensure the safety of or staff and community

Posted by Leisure Time Winery Napoleon on Thursday, July 16, 2020

Now, other businesses in the area say they’re doing their best to stop any spread of the virus at their establishments.

The owner of Spengler’s Restaurant and Pub downtown, Chad Sorg, says they’re doing their best to keep up with regulations, installing dividers between tables, and making sure to routinely disinfect all areas.

“Right now I have a checklist and every hour on the hour we check our names and make sure we go around and do the cleaning so it was hard the first couple weeks but now we’re in a groove,” explains Sorg.

Many places have canceled all regular events and entertainment, but staff says there’s still only so much they can do to enforce social distancing, especially in a small town.

Doug Herman owns Eddie J’s, another downtown spot that has increased their outdoor seating to the side alley, and spaced out the remaining tables indoors, but explains it’s not easy.

“Everybody knows everybody, it’s not like the city. You come in here and you know every table. You know all your friends, your family, and coworkers, and its hard to keep people apart because you know, we’re social animals.”

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