Bars welcome back the regulars

By Josh Ellerbrock -

LIMA — For the first time in months, restaurant and bar owners can thank God it’s Friday.

Under Gov. Mike DeWine’s guidelines, eateries and bars with outdoor seating or patios are open again for business starting this weekend.

Summer Myers, general manager of Glandorf bar Your Place, expected a crowd. She said she’s been hearing from regulars through social media mentions and delivery feedback, and they’re ready to go.

“We’re expecting upwards of 50 people tonight, that’s our hope,” Myers said Friday.

Of course, social distancing measures have been put in place. At Your Place, Myers said customers can go inside to order drinks six feet apart or visit the restroom, but for the most part, they’re expected to stay outside and utilize additional drink stations and servers.

“We’re pretty confident,” Myers said. “We’ve been open for carry-out orders for the kitchen the whole time, and we’ve heard from customers about them being excited, even if there are guidelines to follow.”

Similar social distancing measures have been taken at Lima downtown bar Zinum 12. The establishment has an existing large outdoor courtyard patio space where patrons will be able to sit with plenty of space in between, and servers with facial coverings will be taking orders throughout the night.

Due to state restrictions, standing room, however, has largely been removed from the bars looking to open, and limitations require that 10-person groups stay together.

That doesn’t mean everyone with an outdoor space is gearing up for crowds.

Over at Vino Bellisimo, owner Marc Reineke is taking a more cautious approach to his re-opening schedule despite having a large outdoor seating space behind his establishment. He said there’s some financial risk in opening back up with limited customer capacity if weekend crowds don’t materialize, especially due to expectations of bad weather.

As a result, he’d rather wait and see before throwing additional funds at a full reopening at a time when dollars are stretched already.

Outdoor bar and restaurant service is just one of the services getting opened back up this weekend. Under guidelines announced by DeWine in late April, hair salons, day spas, nail salons, tanning salons, tattoo parlors, massage therapists and acupuncturists have been given the go-ahead, and parking lots of many such businesses were packed on Friday.

Further openings down the line include indoor food services and campgrounds on May 21, horse racing on May 22, Ohio’s bureaus of motor vehicles, gyms, public swimming pools and non-contact sports on May 26 and day cay cares on May 31.

Manufacturers, offices and retail services have already been allowed open.

At this time, the only public spaces or events without associated reopening dates include casinos, racinos, travel-related activities, large venues and contact sports leagues.

By Josh Ellerbrock

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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