CINCINNATI (FOX19) -Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley announced Friday in a news conference that the city will be closing several streets, starting May 15, so restaurants can have more space as outdoor seating opens back up.
Bars and restaurants have been closed for several weeks because of the Coronavirus Pandemic.
“Expanding outdoor spacing is going to be vital to them having a financial way forward through this crisis,” the Mayor said.
Jeremy Lieb owns Sacred Beast with his wife in Over-The-Rhine.
Lieb was one of several restaurant owners who spoke at the news conference.
“It’s great. It really makes a big difference because we talk about how we have to make sure our staff feels safe, and the guests that come out here feel safe. Those are the two most important things,” Lieb told FOX19 NOW.
Lieb says this is huge for local restaurants. His patio would only have been able to seat 16 people with social distancing. He thinks expanding onto 15th St. will give them more than 20 additional seats-meaning more money.
“So with the outside street dining is amazing,” said Lieb. “It gives us the ability to do 25 percent more, which is a big deal.”
According to Lieb, it will also help him hire back some of his staff. He says laying them off was one of the hardest things he has ever had to do.
Lieb says they will be wearing masks while working. Servers will also bring out the handheld credit card machines to avoid multiple people touching them. They are also working on getting a tent so people can still eat outside when it rains.
“I think right now a lot of people aren’t going to come out because they don’t feel safe, even some of the staff members I’ve talked to, they’re like ‘is it going to be safe for us? are we going to get sick?’ As long as we do our job properly, wash our hands, social distance, and keep everything six feet, we should be fine,” said Lieb.
While only offering carry-out for the last several weeks, Lieb and his wife have tried to stay positive. They just celebrated the restaurants’ second anniversary in April.
“We joke about it because we say there’s only three days, yesterday, today and tomorrow. That’s all that we would worry about because we didn’t know what was coming,” said Lieb.
Sacred Beast is on 15th St., in between Vine and Republic St. Fifthteenth Street is one of the streets that will completely close, but others are just closing a lane to allow restaurants to expand.
Here is the full map. Restaurants will reopen indoor seating on Thursday, May 21.