DAYTON — Thursday was the first time in two months restaurants were allowed to have in-store customers.
News Center 7′s Mike Campbell spoke with local restaurants on how they prepared to reopen abiding by the new guidelines.
Some restaurants don’t have concerns about barriers because they have lots of space and they had some pre-existing barriers built into their restaurant, like these stained glass barriers.
The general manager of Spaghetti warehouse downtown says he felt lucky.
Besides stained glass barriers already in place, he put up Plexiglas barriers in some spots and then built extra high, wooden barriers to separate many other booths. They also removed 15 tables
" We’re luckier than smaller restaurants that have to figure out a way around," said general manager Kelly Byrd.
There is a concern for other smaller restaurants around the state, and even some salons, have hung shower curtains to separate works stations or tables.
“When we heard about the shower curtains, it’s at no-go," said Sugarcreek township fire chief Jeff Leaming.
Leaming says he heard some public health officials in northeast Ohio might have told businesses there they could use shower curtains.
He quickly called building inspectors and public health workers in Greene county to make sure it didn’t happen here.
Leaming says everyone wants businesses open but safety is key and shower curtains could be a toxic fire hazard, as well as potentially blocking exits.
“You can’t create barriers to paths where people need to be able to get out,” explained Leaming.
Karen Gagnet and the other owners of the Coco’s Bistro took out 20 tables out of their dining rooms to promote social distancing.
“Everything is harder, work is harder, you’re more aware of everything, masks, make communicating more difficult," said Gagnet.
Other owners said the extra challenges are offset but the excitement of having customers re-join them.
“It’s a great point, gives us all energy, when they come , we get energy to do our job every single day,” explained Fly Pizza’s owner Tony Graci.
Graci says his customers are cooperating with all the new guidelines.
“Social distancing is not a problem, we’ve got every other both, plus they’re using common sense too,” said Graci.
A number of restaurants in Downtown Dayton, like Thai 9, Ladder 11, and the Wheat Penny Oven Restaurant are delaying their opening by a week or two to ensure proper safety protocols.
“We need the revenue just like everyone else but we didn’t think the time was quite right,” explained Wheat Penny owner Elizabeth Valenti.
Those who did open say employee and customer safety is the main concern.
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