Ohio’s restaurants and bars will reopen with outside dining May 15 and inside dining May 21, and an industry group that advised the governor explained how they would do it to ensure safety for workers and customers.
The group is asking businesses to rework their floor plan, a move reached instead of setting a percentage of normal full capacity as other states have done.
Parties of 10 or less can be seated together, for example, but each group in the restaurant must be kept physically separated from other parties.
The group said how that separation is achieved is up to the business. It could mean high booths are used, or Plexiglas dividers could be installed. Tables also could be spaced at 6 feet or more, distances greater than have been previously been used most places.
Customers could be asked to wait for tables by remaining in their vehicles or other separated areas that allow for social distancing, the advisory group said.
Some employees will wear masks in establishments, but the group said for some workers, it will not be required because it would present a safety hazard. The group cited the example of cooking over a hot grill.
The group decided to allow businesses to decide if customers would be required to wear masks into the establishment.
Gloves will not be required for all workers, either. The group noted that gloves can give a false sense of protection and that the suggestion is for the use of gloves as required under food safety guidelines.
Handwashing is and will continue to be the gold standard for workers and customers, the group noted.
The group also asked the public for patience and understanding, finishing with a plea to “be respectful” of workers as the process restarts.
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