Draft guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention aims to help businesses such as restaurants re-open. Larry Lynch of the National Restaurant Association says restaurants already practice many of the guidelines. (April 28)
How do you handle seating in small restaurant implementing social distancing guidelines?
To address this issue, the city of Cincinnati will close parts of 25 streets in Over-the-Rhine and Downtown Cincinnati so restaurants can expand outdoor seating, a move that will help restaurants without patio space keep tables farther apart for social distancing – and open as early as possible.
The announcement came one day after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced restaurants can open outdoor space next Friday. Indoor seating isn’t allowed until May 21, and only then with certain precautions. Parties must be seated 6 feet apart or there has to be a physical barrier, for example.
Restaurants and bars have been closed by state order since March 21 in order to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. It’s put people out of work and shuttered restaurants who opted not to morph into carryouts.
“Restaurants are critical to the vibrancy in our urban core,” Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said. “Shutting down streets and lanes to expand dining so people can come back downtown and get delicious meals will be great.”
In Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, many of the restaurants are in small older buildings. The neighborhood, along with Cincinnati’s Downtown, had been enjoying national attending for its vibrant restaurant scene until the pandemic hit.
The plan came together quickly with Cranley reaching out to The Banks restaurants and Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) in Over-the-Rhine about what was needed.
“I knew this would be a desire in light of how small some of the restaurants are,” Cranley said Friday. When he called to offer help, he learned they were already planning to ask.
The plan will quickly be expanded to neighborhood bars and restaurants, Cranley said.
Among the closures: 15th Street between Vine and Race Streets, which will help both Sacred Beast and Pepp and Dolores.
Julia Petiprin, one of the owners of Homemaker’s Bar in Over-the-Rhine said the plan will be a great help to her small space, which doesn’t have outdoor seating.
“To have this opportunity will really help up serve the community,” she said. “Outdoor seating will be a way for us to bring the cocktail experience … to the community.”
The Banks Freedom Way will close, which will be helpful, said Jean-François Flechet, who owns Taste of Belgium, which has a location there.
“We lost Opening Day and the Flying Pig and a lot of events that bring people to The Banks,” he said.
Cranley said he is looking forward to dining out next Friday with his family and a few friends, joking that the “boss,”, his wife, would get to pick the place. And, he added, he hopes to sign an order that the weather should be sunny and warm.
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