City, health department eye COVID-19 safety as Oregon District event at risk of shut down

City, health department eye COVID-19 safety as Oregon District event at risk of shut down

DAYTON — It could be the last weekend this season for the new Out on 5th event in the Oregon District if COVID-19 safety protocols are not followed by people attending and working the event.

The threat to shut down the event a week early came as Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley was made aware of people not following the state and local protocols in place by the health department.

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Right now, Out on 5th has the remainder of this weekend and next weekend left in its first season. Business owners say the outdoor expansion in the Oregon District has helped some recoup after being shut down early on in the pandemic.

The street has been closed down to vehicle traffic each weekend since Labor Day, so businesses can expand their footprint to have more outdoor space.

Dana Downs owns Roost Modern Italian and says the event has got her restaurant back on the right track.

“For us it’s gotten us back to pre-COVID numbers,” Downs told News Center 7′s Monica Castro. “We are very happy with that.”

News Center 7 spent some of Saturday evening in the Oregon District and noticed protocols appeared to be being followed. It’s the same view Downs had of the event this weekend.

Whaley came down hard on the event during a Thursday press conference with Montgomery County Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper.

“So I get it, but you can’t even deal with an economy if we see this trend continue on over the next two weeks,” Whaley said of the growing case numbers in the Dayton area. “If these surges continue week over week, we won’t be talking about the economy at all.”

Cooper said people know what to do when it comes to social distancing and wearing masks.

“This is not a sacrifice that anyone has to make, it’s not a hardship for anyone,” Cooper said. “We wear a face covering, we maintain our distance, we protect each other.”

Downs understands the concerns of the increasing case count.

“I did hear her comments and I do appreciate the concern that she has for the public. I personally, my staff have talked about it and haven’t seen really any issues,” the business owner said.

Visitors to the Oregon District tonight said they hope the actions of a few won’t cost the event for all the businesses.

“I hope they can stay open. Hopefully the population just follows the rules and they can stay home. That way businesses can keep doing what they are doing,” Yeary said.