COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine unveiled the state’s plan to begin reopening salons and barbershops on May 15, outside dining at restaurants and bars on May 15, and inside dining on May 21, with additional health and safety protocols and regulations for employees and customers.
DeWine told Ohioans that they're responsible for the health and safety of those around us.
"This is a good day," he said. "This is a day when we are opening things up. We have more opportunities. But I want to caution us. It's high-risk. This is a high-risk operation. But it would be high-risk if we didn't do anything."
New protocols for restaurants and bars include:
-Restaurants and bars will be asked to create a floor plan that allows for social distancing.
"So restaurants and bars are going to be asked to create a floor plan that complies with current social distancing guidelines, for example, under the current mandate," said Treva Weaver COO of The Wasserstrom Company and Owner of Zoup! Eatery, part of the working group tasked with creating protocols for restaurants and bars. "There are parties of 10 or less that would be seated together, and then each party is then going to be separated by either six feet, or physical barrier."
-Customers may be asked to wait in their cars instead of waiting areas or lines, Weaver said, "or there might be a designated area now for queuing."
-Buffets and salad bars will now be served to customers, instead of self-service. There will also be six-foot guidelines on lines for buffets.
-Entryways will have information about COVID-19 symptoms.
"We’re asking the public to self-monitor and ensure compliance before they come in," Weaver said.
-Employees will be required to wear masks in certain positions, with exemptions, such as some back-of-house staff, and cooks standing over a hot grill, for example.
-Gloves will not be required for all employees.
Weaver said they are recommending restaurants follow existing Food Safety Code guidelines regarding gloves.
"Hand washing is and will continue to be the gold standard and therefore our committee is recommending that we follow those guidelines, so you’re likely not going to see gloves on your cashiers or on your servers," Weaver said.
Weaver said that some restaurants and bars have the space they can re-purpose to distance tables to the guidelines.
"So that’s why we didn’t want to put a 50% of fire code compliance in place, because you might be able to keep all of your tables, because some of this open area, and still maintain social distancing guidelines," Weaver said. "So that’s an example of how you can use that space."
John Barker, CEO with the Ohio Restaurant Association said both restaurant owners and customers must take an active role in making the plan effective.
"Customers, please wear your face covering into the restaurant, particularly as you're coming in and going to the restroom, and only take it off during your dining," Barker said. “Our message to restaurants is: Follow the guidelines carefully, these are not suggestions, these are things that you need to do to operate. Not all of Ohio's 300,000 restaurant employees will be back on the job immediately, they’re anticipating somewhere around 40 to 50% is what they’ll get back for quite some time, it’s going to be a slow recovery.”
Dave Covell, Commissioner with Lorain County Public Heath said bars will only be able to serve to customers at tables to maintain social distancing requirements.
“If you’re going to have this open space you really have to use that for tables, and not just an open space where people congregate,” Covell said.
Covell is urging restaurant and bar owners to appoint a person to monitor customers and remind them to follow the new guidelines.
"You’re going to have to have someone that spends some time greeting people and make sure that they're adhering to the guidelines, and probably your nicest person who could walk up and gently say 'Hey, can we make sure we separate here?'” Covell said.
View the state's document outlining mandatory requirements for restaurants and bars here, and recommendations and best practices here.
New protocols for barbershops and salons include:
-Those waiting for appointments might have to wait in their car, and enter alone for service, with exceptions for parents and caregivers, said Debbie Penzone, President and CEO of Charles Penzone Salons, and a member of the working group that established these protocols.
-Businesses that retain lobbies and waiting areas will have social distancing markings.
-Magazines and product testing stations and self-serve beverage stations will be taken out of waiting areas.
-Customers and clients will be asked to wear a face covering or mask, “especially with our services being so personal,” Penzone said.
The protocols were developed by working groups of industry professionals, DeWine said.
Restaurants and bars have been closed to dine-in service since March 15, when there were just 37 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state. The state's health order closed all bars and restaurants in Ohio, and allowed them to serve customers through carry-out and deliver service only.
On March 18, DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton issued an order closing barbershops, salons and tattoo parlors.
The plans did not include a reopening for tattoo parlors or massage businesses. Lt. Gov. Husted said that recommendations for massage parlors "will come out of the medical board, the medical board which regulates that that particular industry."