CINCINNATI — The city of Cincinnati, Ohio has decided to close some of its streets to allow outdoor seating for their patrons.
Restaurants will be permitted to reopen soon in the state, but they will be required to have a floor plan that is in accordance with current social distancing regulations.
That means there will be less seating inside of an establishment, but the city of Cincinnati has decided to fully and partially close streets to provide outdoor seating, according to our news partners at WCPO.
There are no similar plans announced for the Dayton area yet, but Cincinnati will have about 25 restaurants at The Banks, Over-the-Rhine and downtown expanded with outdoor seating into the streets starting Friday.
The decision was made to help draw customers and stimulate restaurant business.
“It’s incumbent on restaurants to make customers feel safe,” Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said. “If there’s an extreme example of overcrowding, police can and will be called in.”
Several streets will be completely closed with lanes closing on others.
Six streets will be completely closed and eight will be partially closed.
A list of restaurants participating was not available.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that restaurants can reopen for outside dining on Friday and inside dining May 21.
Indoor dining has been closed since March to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Below are the current guidelines a restaurant must follow in the state:
- Parties must be separated by six feet, or a physical barrier (physical barrier options: High booth back, plexiglass wall, etc.)
- No more than 10 people may be seated as part of one party
- An elevated cleaning and sanitizing schedule for all surfaces that staff and customers contact should be created and executed.
- Food establishments should use mobile ordering and payments where possible to reduce hand contact.
- Workers will be expected to handwash frequently; not all will be expected to wear gloves (According to professionals, this practice can be counterproductive in stopping the spread of the virus)
- Open congregate areas will remain closed for the time being, like dance floors and activity spaces; however, these areas can be used to place booths to help with social distancing
- The use of no-touch entrances and exits are suggested, as well as separate entrances and exits where possible
- Instead of using containers for condiments to be used by multiple customers, restaurants should use single packets or cups
- Bars pose a unique challenge, as nearly the entire facility is considered an “open congregate area.” If individual bars are to open, they will need to find a way to follow these guidelines.
- It will be up to the individual bar or restaurant whether or not to require masks, though given the nature of the businesses, it will likely not be required for a customer’s entire visit.