Local restaurants prepare to reopen with health restrictions in place

Posted at 10:20 PM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 10:58:22-04

CINCINNATI — Bars and restaurants are days away from reopening alongside retailers, with several health restrictions in place.

When Jim & Jack’s on the River reopens at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 15, customers will be able to "dine in" outside before eventually being allowed inside the facility, which moved all of its tables at least six feet apart.

Jim & Jack’s general manager Karen Hartwig said the day that bars and restaurants statewide closed their doors felt like a "punch in the gut."

As the deadline drew near, she said, reality started to set in.

“That’s where it hit home for me, when the regulars started coming in to say, ‘We just wanted to say bye’ and I’m like, ‘we’re not leaving,’” Hartwig said. “We’re just closing for a couple of weeks.”

In the ensuing period of time, the restaurant adapted by offering curbside carryout meals and preparing to reopen both covered outdoor seating and, soon, indoor dining.

“We’ve sanitized this building from top to bottom,” Hartwig said. “I’ve cleaned it three times a week with nobody in it just to stay on top of things.”

As the staff prepares to reopen, Hamilton County Public Health is getting ready, too.

“As we start to open things back up, let’s do a good job of this so that we can get it right on the first time,” interim Hamilton County health commissioner Greg Kesterman said.

State and local health officials released protocols for all businesses to reopen:

  • Face coverings required for all employees
  • Daily health assessments
  • Maintaining good hygiene
  • Daily cleaning and sanitizing
  • Limited customer capacity

“We ask for your patience moving forward because we, along with all the other bars and restaurants, can’t do what we always did, and it’s going to be a new normal for all of us,” Hartwig said.