New Rules, Ohio’s Restaurants and Bars Reopening Today

Written By: Ishton W. Morton – May 15th, 2020

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Implementing reopening State of Ohio

According to Governor Mike DeWine, on Friday, May 15th, 2020, Ohio will commence phases two of the state’s reopening of its restaurants and bars. Make no mistake it shall continue to be an enormously a long way from the customary atmosphere.

Accordingly, the state’s bars and restaurants can first resume outdoor services starting Friday. However, indoor dining services is set to resume the following week which will be Thursday, May 21st, 2020.

Although this might seem joyous to many, the process could still quite problematic. For example, there are several regulations in place to which both employees and customers must comply.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley made a call to action A WCPO 9 News Photo

Referencing Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley who had this to say; “the goal is to have street and lane closures in place by May 15th, 2020.” Cranley continued to say; “the city wants to help restaurants beyond downtown, too.”

Anticipating an increased demand for outdoor dining, the city of Cincinnati is closing a number of streets and lanes near restaurants so that restaurants can expand seating capacity outdoors.

Around 25 locations will be included in these street and lane shutdowns. Restaurants will be able to put more tables outside, such as in the sidewalks or in the streets, in order to maintain proper social distancing.

Some of the closures will be along Vine Street, Walnut Street, Main Street, Freedom Way at The Banks and Findlay Market. Click here for a full list of street closures.

City leaders say they recognize how important restaurants are to downtown Cincinnati and wanted to do whatever they could to accommodate the businesses once they are allowed to open.

Cincinnati Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman

Supportively, Cincinnati Vice-Mayor Christopher Smitherman had this to say; “I will be out tomorrow spending money and supporting our local businesses. Be sure to stay safe and follow social distancing protocols. I hope to see some of you around town!”

Cranley added; “There’s room for everybody!”

Cranley believes; if a restaurant owner is interested in perusing a plan to close certain streets or lanes in front of their business, they should email

However, in accordance with a mandated list of new rules for customers released by The Ohio Department of Health detailing mandatory measures employees and customers must follow provided that parties of 10 or more are no longer permitted.

Also, Governor Mike DeWine said; “Large groups are discouraged at the state’s bars and restaurants”.

He continued to say; “A minimum of six feet must be kept between parties, both when dining and waiting on a table. If this is not possible, the restaurant must utilize barriers and other protective measures.”

Also, businesses are being required to provide customers with hand-washing methods, and, if possible, provide access to sanitizing products in high-contact areas.

Apparently, these new rules, regulations and new mandates proposed, when eating at a restaurant, there will be far less on your table. Restaurants must remove common area items on tables such as condiments, stir sticks, vases, table tents, etc. Instead, these items will be brought to customers directly by staff.

Also, according to these new mandates when sitting in a bar with your buddy he and or she may have to sit a few bar stools down. Seemingly, bar seating is still permitted, but attendees at the bar(s) must follow all approved social distancing guidelines which include maintaining a six-foot distance.

Referencing arcades and games located inside restaurants and bars there continues to be enormous concerns. However, in accordance with the new mandates, all games such as billiards, pinball, and card games will continue to remain closed.

Additionally, it was made very clear, for example, if customers show any symptoms of COVID-19, they could be asked to leave the premise. It is believe such an action is fundamentally iniquitous. A more reasonable and practical approach for customers show symptoms of COVID-19 there should be a process for getting such customers to a place of treatment.

Subsequently, in cases where it is not possible erect barriers they must utilized the new rules for employees whereas all bars and restaurants shall be required to comply with a minimum of six feet between employees.

It is what it is! All businesses must require employees to wear facial coverings, except for one of the following reasons:

  1. Facial coverings in the work setting are prohibited by law or regulation
  2. Facial coverings are in violation of documented industry standards
  3. Facial coverings are not advisable for health reasons
  4. Facial coverings are in violation of the business’s documented safety policies
  5. Facial coverings are not required when the employee works alone in an assigned work area
  6. There is a functional (practical) reason for an employee not to wear a facial covering in the workplace

Businesses must provide written justification, upon request, explaining why an employee is not wearing a facial covering in the workplace.

All employees are required to perform a daily symptom assessment, which includes a daily temperature check and monitoring for fever. Employees must also regularly wash their hands while working.

Also, additional training is needed, the mandates state, and each restaurant and bar is required to provide ServSafe (or other approved COVID-19 education course) as soon as possible.

Also, businesses must limit the number of employees permitted in break rooms at one time. Still there are those who are extremely skeptical of the timing on this re-opening. It is believed that more time is needed to understand what is happening.  Actually, I still believe that Governor Mike DeWine is doing an enormously good job. Over all I will give him an A-

Author: Ishton W. Morton

Formerly, Ishton W. Morton is an educator and promoter for community advocacy which includes creating programs and services, developing partnerships, and changing public policies, laws, and practices to improve the lifestyle of all people I’m still having an overwhelming desire to provide an Outreach Continuing Education process through this media.