23 picnic tables to be set up in downtown Bellefontaine, West Liberty to close a public alley as task force group works to increase outdoor dining options
As retail store fronts resume something resembling normal operations Tuesday, and restaurants prepare to recommence on-premises dining at the end of the week, a coordinated local campaign is under way to boost consumer confidence and encourage best practices among businesses as they reopen following an eight week closure.
The Live Smart, Stay Safe initiative is a product of the Logan County economic restart task force — a group of about 20 business owners and public officials charged with, “empowering a strong and timely economic rebound in Logan County while maintaining the health and safety of our employers, residents and visitors.”
Some freestanding signs have already been placed in areas around Logan County, including along State Route 366 in the area of the Indian Lake spillway, and additional signs are scheduled to be set up throughout downtown Bellefontaine, as well as in the village of West Liberty.
Slogans for the campaign include, “Cover you face & give me space!”; “Our new task: Wear a mask!”; and “Masks are great until we can vaccinate,” as first reported in the May 7 Examiner.
Among the stated goals of the campaign is to demonstrate that small businesses can both service their customers and keep them safe; and that local businesses can in fact provide a safer space for customers than even big-box stores can.
Restaurants are permitted to resume outdoor dining options effective on Friday, and limited indoor seating is permitted beginning Monday, May 20. In an effort to accommodate outdoor diners, the city of Bellefontaine plans to set up nearly two dozen picnic tables in and around the downtown area.
Monday morning, Bellefontaine city parks employees had taken 17 picnic tables to the Bellefontaine armory to receive a fresh coat of paint in preparation of being placed along Main Street and the surrounding vicinity.
West Liberty Village Council was expected to approve in its Monday evening council meeting the closure of a public alley near the public library at 117 N. Detroit St. for the purpose of placing picnic tables to provide for greater outdoor dining options for restaurant patrons.
Those outdoor dining areas will also feature signs and notices in conjunction with the Live Smart, Stay Safe campaign, reminding visitors to adhere to social distancing protocols and to clean up after themselves.
Messages are intended to drive home the idea that small businesses and restaurants are doing everything possible to provide safe environments for their customers, and have adopted social-distancing guidelines set forth by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and director of health Dr. Amy Acton.