May 15 marked the reopening of patio dining in Ohio. Part of the governor’s “Responsible RestartOhio” program, this first restaurant reopening went reasonably well, with most establishments following the new guidelines requiring 6 feet of spacing or a physical barrier between tables. Staff were expected to frequently wash hands. The masks and gloves rule may or may not be enforced.

Restaurants with large, covered patios were busy all day with quarantine-weary Daytonians venturing out for their first sit-down, dine-out meal in nearly two months. Most patios have clearly posted signage detailing the guidelines as well as letting diners know the capacity. TJ Chumps is among dozens of restaurants with open patios. With four locations in the Miami Valley, all with large covered patios, the casual eateries remained crowded all weekend. One TJ Chumps regular at the Miamisburg location said that “everyone was following the rules,” and she not only enjoyed her food but felt completely safe and comfortable. A little south in Lebanon, Broadway Barrel House has all tables appropriately distanced and groups larger than 10 are not being seated together. Other popular patios open for dining include Coco’s Bistro, the Dublin Pub, the Dayton Beer Company, Franco’s and Bunkers Sports Bar.

Restaurants and bars with indoor dining reopened yesterday, May 21, with similar guidelines. A few high-profile Dayton restaurants are taking a “wait and see” approach and have yet to set firm reopening dates. These include Jay’s, the Pine Club, The Winds Café in Yellow Springs, El Meson and Lily’s Bistro. Calling ahead or checking websites for hours and wait times is recommended.