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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Restaurants and bars across Ohio can fully reopen today after being closed for dine-in service for over two months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Governor Mike DeWine closed Ohio’s eateries on March 15, allowing them to operate with take-out and delivery services only. On May 15, restaurants and bars were permitted to reopen for outdoor dining.

Now, these establishments can service customers inside, however, they have to follow guidelines created by the state’s Restaurant Advisory Group.

Here are the mandatory guidelines restaurants and bars must follow according to the Responsible Restart Ohio plan:

  • Ensure a minimum of six feet between people. If not possible, businesses must utilize barriers if applicable and increase the frequency of surface cleaning, handwashing, sanitizing and monitor compliance.
  • Businesses must require all employees to wear facial coverings. Customers are encouraged to do so as well.
  • Post a list of COVID-19 symptoms in a conspicuous place.
  • Ask customers and guests not to enter if symptomatic.
  • Provide customers with access to handwashing methods while in the foodservice establishment, and if possible, place approved hand washing/sanitizing products in high-contact areas.
  • Foodservice establishments offering dine-in service must take affirmative steps with customers to achieve safe social distancing guidelines.
  • When appropriate, establish ordering areas and waiting areas with clearly marked safe distancing and separations per individual/social group for both restaurant and bar service.
  • Remove self-service, table, and common area items (e.g. table tents, vases, lemons, straws, stir sticks, condiments).
  • Salad bars and buffets are only permitted if served by staff with safe six feet social distancing between parties.
  • The open congregate areas in restaurants and bars that are not necessary for the preparation and service of food or beverages (billiards, card playing, pinball games, video games, arcade games, dancing, entertainment) shall remain closed.
  • Employees must perform daily coronavirus symptom assessments.
  • Businesses must require employees to stay at home if symptomatic and perform daily symptom assessment requirements before they can return to work.
  • Provide ServSafe, or other approved COVID-19 education as soon as possible.
  • Require regular handwashing by employees.
  • Comply with state-issued safety regulations.
  • Limit the number of employees allowed in break rooms at the same time and practice social distancing.
  • Daily cleaning for the entire establishment. Clean and sanitize tabletops, chairs, and menus between seatings. Clean all high touch areas every two hours, and more frequently as needed (e.g. door handles; light switches; phones, pens, touch screens).
  • In instances of confirmed cases of COVID-19, businesses should shut down the area for deep sanitation if possible.

Click here for the complete list of mandatory and recommended best practices for the reopening of restaurants and bars.

Most restaurants in the Greater Cleveland area have spent the last few weeks making the necessary changes to their dining rooms to allow guests to return safely.

Several restaurant owners also say they will also be taking steps to ensure they don’t have overcrowding issues, which was something that happened at many bars and restaurants last weekend when outdoor dining reopened.

*Read more on Governor DeWine’s reopening plans, here.*