Ohio continued on its deliberate path back to a fully functioning economy over the weekend. Restaurants and bars were permitted to begin serving patrons at their outdoor areas on Friday, and this week indoor service can begin — with appropriate social distancing.
Fortunately for the restaurants and bars that wanted to get back to business, the weather cooperated for the most part, with some warm weather and only a few thunderstorms rolling through. I walked to downtown Columbus over the weekend and passed several venues where people were enjoying the chance to get out. Yesterday Kish and I walked past another popular spot, Lindey’s patio, where you could hear the happy babble of chatting people, just like old times.
There were news reports of some Short North bars that had seemingly overcrowded outdoor areas, but I didn’t see anything like that. What I saw, instead, were businesses that wanted to get going again, and customers who wanted that, too. People seemed to be respecting the social distancing rules for the most part — both at the restaurants and otherwise. But there is no doubt that things are loosening up. Soon we’ll start to get some statistics that will allow us to assess the impact.
Today another German Village business opened its doors to walk-in business after the prolonged coronavirus shutdown. This time, it’s the Hausfrau Haven, a great wine (and beer) shop that has been a German Village mainstay for decades. The HH had been open for carryout business — which we gladly took advantage of — but now you can walk in to make your wine selections. As we spring back from the shutdown period, increased access to adult beverages can only be a good thing.
My guess is that the Hausfrau Haven sign is (no pun intended) a sign of things to come in Columbus and Ohio as other businesses open up. That is, masks will be required, and the requirement will be enforced by the business itself, out of concern for its employees and its other patrons. I think most people will happily comply with that.
Next up for Ohio and German Village — a restaurant or bar open for foot traffic and in-restaurant dining. When G. Michael’s and Lindey’s and Ambrose and Eve and the High-Beck open up to dining and drinking patrons, that will seem like a very big deal.