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Loveland hopes relaxing rules on DORA district can help bars, restaurants

Posted at 6:25 PM, May 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-09 18:30:25-04

LOVELAND, Ohio — The city of Loveland is getting creative in an effort to boost business for restaurants and bars hit hard by the pandemic and shutdown. Starting Saturday, the city loosened its rules for its downtown outdoor drinking area.

The designated outdoor refreshment area (DORA) in Loveland is typically only allowed open during special events, but the city is making an exception for the next two months in order to support the bars and restaurants in the area.

"To help us out, I mean, obviously we've had a lot of questions in the past when we're going to reopen," said Luke Rudd, manager at Ramsey's Trailside in Loveland. "This kind of lets us practice for next week when we do open our patio and everything. Gets some open container going here down in Loveland and should be good for everyone."

The city has spaced out picnic tables in nearby Nisbet Park and is opening public bathrooms in the area, which city workers will sanitize daily. They're also banning groups of 10 or more people, even while the DORA expansion is in place.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on Thursday that Ohio dine-in service at restaurants and bars can legally resume May 21. Restaurants will be able to serve customers in outside seating areas starting May 15.

Restaurants and bars that reopen must space tables six feet apart or separate them with a physical barrier, working group head Treva Weaver said. Patrons waiting to be seated will wait in their cars or in socially distanced queues. No parties of over 10 people will be accepted, and empty “congregate spaces” such as dance floors will be repurposed as additional seating space.