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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Cincinnati To Close Some Streets To Help Restaurants Expand Outdoor Dining

findlay market
Bill Rinehart
Partial closures near Findlay Market include Race Street between Elder and Findlay, Court and 9th, 6th and 5th streets.

Cincinnati will be closing some streets in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine starting next weekend to allow restaurants to expand their outdoor dining areas.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday restaurants can open for outside dining May 15 and inside dining May 21. Restaurants have guidelines they must abide by, devised by a working group comprised of industry representatives from across the state.

"So, expanding outdoor spacing is going to be vital to them having a financial way forward through this crisis," said Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley during a city press briefing Friday afternoon. "Let's face it: We've been stuck at home for a long time, and as the weather gets nicer, it sure would be nice to safely enjoy some of our great restaurants outside."

The list of streets for now includes:

Full Closures:

  • 15th Street between Vine and Republic, Republic and Race, Race and Pleasant
  • 14th Street between Vine and Republic, Republic and Race
  • 13th Street between Vine and Republic
  • Freedom Way between Vine and Joe Nuxhall, Vine and Race
  • Joe Nuxhall between 2nd and Freedom Way
  • Campbell Alley between Findlay and W. Elder

Partial Lane Closures:

  • Race Street between Elder and Findlay, Court and 9th, 6th and 5th
  • Vine Street between 15th and Central Parkway
  • Walnut Street between 14th and Mercer St.
  • Walnut Street between 12th and 13th
  • Clay Street between 14th and Liberty, 13th and 12th
  • Main Street between 12th and Central Parkway
  • Broadway between 13th and 12th
  • 8th Street between Sycamore and Main
  • 7th Street between Walnut and Main

Restaurants taking advantage of the expanded outdoor areas will have to maintain physical distancing and comply with all health standards.
3CDC worked with the city on the plan for Downtown and OTR.

Restaurants seem happy with the proposal, especially those who lack outdoor space or have small dining areas.

"We have a patio, it will extend our patio, giving us - I don't know how many more seats - but enough that it will make a big difference for everybody," said Jeremy Lieb, who owns Sacred Beast Diner at the corner of 15th and Vine.

"Having this opportunity to expand, we don't have any outdoor seating currently, so having this opportunity is going to really help us be able to serve the community," said Julia Petiprin, who co-owns Homemakers Bar on E. 13th Street.

Cranley said the street closing can be extended into city neighborhoods.  He said there's "room for everybody."

If you have a restaurant or live in a community where the plan might work, you're asked to email Kelly Carr in the city manager's office at

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.