May 15, 2020

Oxford stores and restaurants plan to reopen soon

Oxford retail stores have started to open doors to the public under the easing of the state of Ohio’s shutdown orders prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Under a set of specific instructions from the governor, all customers in retail stores must maintain social distancing protocol and wear masks to protect others from the virus.

In a Thursday press conference, Gov. Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Gov. Jon Husted announced a number of activities and locations that can open up by the end of the month. “May is moving month,” Husted said, referencing all the changes that will take place over the upcoming weeks.

New hours are posted in the window of Skippers Pub & Top Deck. Photo provided by Skippers


Among some of the first attractions that will be opening, campgrounds will be good to go May 21, according to the governor. Day camps for kids may also begin opening back up May 31. As things open, there will be new rules about sanitizing surfaces, the use of facemasks and maintaining social distance.

“Cleaning is the word of the day,” said DeWine. There also will be new rules on how many children day care providers will be able to accommodate when they can start reopening May 31.

However, it is up to local cities and townships on whether they are ready to open up or not, the governor said. The reopening dates announced Thursday are just guidelines. No one can open sooner, but local officials can enforce stricter guidelines and delay local reopenings.

While the state says most recreational centers and gyms may reopen May 26, Casey Wooddell, Oxford’s director of the parks and recreation, said the city’s TRI Community Center won’t open until June 1. “We have been planning for a June 1st opening, and we are sticking to that,” he said. The Miami University Rec Center will remain closed as long as regular campus operations are shut down.

Husted said Thursday that pools and public swimming areas can be opened May 26, but that will not be the case for Oxford. “We know May 26 will not happen for pools, in terms of the preparation needed… it will be delayed, but we will be open for the summer,” Wooddell stated.

Another change occurring is the reopening of outdoor seating for restaurants in the area. Local pubs such Books & Brews and Skippers plan on offering limited seating on their patios, starting Friday, May 15. “Everything changes every day,” said Andrew Amarantos, owner of Skippers Pub and Top Deck, 121 E. High St..

Books & Brews, 107 E. Church St., also plans to open its indoor seating May 21, “We have a directive from the state of Ohio that we can open, with the addition of many rules to follow,” said Ann Kamphaus, owner of the restaurant.

The seating for all outdoor eating venues still needs to follow social distancing protocols. While up to 10 people can sit at a table together, no two tables can be closer than six feet apart. A change from silverware and glassware also is being made, said Kamphaus. She said Books & Brews will be using plastic utensils and paper cups to reduce chances of virus contamination.

Limited sidewalk and indoor seating will become available for restaurants under the eased state restrictions. Photo provided by Skippers

The seating for all outdoor eating venues still needs to follow social distancing protocols. While up to 10 people can sit at a table together, no two tables can be closer than six feet apart. A change from silverware and glassware also is being made, said Kamphaus. She said Books & Brews will be using plastic utensils and paper cups to reduce chances of virus contamination.

Kamphaus is the former risk manager for McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital in Oxford and plans to use what she learned there at her current business. “Our servers will be wearing masks, but customers do not need to do so,” she said.

Another restaurant in the area, Hometown Eatery, 700 Liberty Ave., in nearby College Corner, Indiana, opened its doors for indoor dining as well. Starting May 11, the restaurant has been seating at 50% capacity and spreading out tables and chairs to maintain six feet distance between parties, according to its Facebook page.

Other restaurants in Oxford remain open, serving carryout only, but more are expected to begin reopening in-house operations under the easing state restrictions.