By Anne Chlovechok
In last Thursday’s COVID-19 briefing (affectionately known statewide as Wine with DeWine – It’s 2 o’clock somewhere!) the governor announced when Ohioans can expect to be able to get a haircut, manicure, massage, spa day or sit down to eat at a restaurant or bar.
Two weeks ago, two committees made up of industry professionals sat down to come up with a list of recommendations for re-opening eat-in dining and personal service businesses. In both industries, many regulations already exist to protect health and safety, and were incorporated into the committee’s recommendations.
On Friday, May 15, restaurants and bars will re-open for outside dining only. On Thursday, May 21, they can re-open for inside dining. Each bar or restaurant must create a floor plan to allow them to re-open while complying with existing social distancing requirements. Tables or booths must either be six feet apart or divided by physical barriers such as walls, tall booth backs or Plexiglas partitions.
People must dine in parties of 10 or fewer, sticking to that number limit already in existence.
Waiting for tables will either take place outside in cars, or in socially-distanced waiting areas.
We won’t be seeing self-serve buffets or salad bars for now. And many employees will be wearing masks. Some won’t, though, especially if it would create a safety hazard, such as for cooks.
Gloves will also be worn only by some employees. In entryways, there will be a list of COVID-19 symptoms, and customers are being asked to self-regulate.
Finally, what they are calling “open congregate spaces,” meaning places like dance floors, will remain closed for now. But they can be used to increase available table space.
Personal service industries will be reopening on Friday, May 15. These include businesses such as barbers, hair salons, nail salons, day spas and massage and tanning parlors. Industry professionals from around Ohio recommended a list of things for “best practice” re-opening.
Employees will wear masks, and so will customers. These industries are already heavily regulated as to cleaning and sanitation, as is the restaurant industry.
There will be social distancing in the waiting area, and there will be no magazines, product testing or food or beverages available.
The person who has an appointment will come in alone, unless he or she is a child or needs a caregiver.
Governor DeWine said when most retail outlets open this coming Tuesday, 89% of Ohio’s private economy will have reopened. With the addition of personal service and dine-in restaurants and bars, that percentage rises even higher.
Some businesses have not gotten the green light yet, and are still waiting to re-open. These include theaters, gyms and other places where many people gather in close proximity.
“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” DeWine said.