New Openings Offer Insight, Hope to Ohio Businesses

May 20, 2020

From the Desk of the COO

Welcome to the first in a series of Reflections on a Responsible Restart. As businesses continue to open up here in Ohio and nationwide, I’ll be taking time each week to reflect on recent events and offer insights on how we’re progressing on our path to recovery.

For businesses across the country, the past few months have been nothing short of devastating. Companies both large and small have had their limits tested throughout the shutdown, forcing them to seriously re-evaluate what future operations might look like in a world still very much grappling with COVID-19. In some form or another we have all encountered this issue and will be doing so for the foreseeable future as the social and economic landscape continues to evolve with each passing day.

While that is a very sobering fact, this past week offered a glimpse of what could potentially lie ahead with the opening of offices, retail shops, restaurant patios, and service industry operations like hairdressers and spas here in Ohio. Thanks to the incredible efforts of our tenants and staff, we prepped all of our properties with everything from social distancing markers to hand sanitizing stations in an effort to safely accommodate the influx of guests. The only question was, how would everyone react to the new experience?

In short, it was very promising. As guests returned in modest, yet significantly higher numbers, we saw glimmers of hope on all ends. Retail and restaurant staff did an amazing job of complying with state mandates, and they worked tirelessly to provide a safe, reassuring environment for customers. Security personnel closely monitored and adeptly managed foot traffic at individual merchants as well as the properties as a whole. Residents and office tenants took it all in stride, welcoming the community back into their daily lives with open, yet safely distanced, arms. Last but not least, the visitors were absolutely incredible.

“The first week demonstrated the great resolve and resiliency of Clevelanders as a whole.”

Not only were our guests actively observant of the various directional markers, social distancing signs, capacity limitations, etc., they were also exceedingly mindful of those around them. Visitors were acutely aware of personal space, they did their best to patiently wait in lines and give others the right of way, and they did their part to, ironically, not do the small things like hold doors and offer help to other people. Strange times indeed.

While there were some unfortunate instances of overcrowding and lack of enforcement in Northeast Ohio, the first week demonstrated the great resolve and resiliency of Clevelanders as a whole. It illustrated that they are open and willing to comply with the restrictions that coincide with a responsible restart. It showed that they have the drive to adopt new practices and adapt to new circumstances in order to create a new normal that is both safe and successful. The days, weeks, and months ahead will undoubtedly be filled with new challenges, but if the first week is any indication … we will evolve, and we will overcome.


Ezra Stark, Chief Operating Officer