Outdoor drinking, Out on 5th get OK to continue

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Dayton’s mayor and local public health officials have opted not to shut down Out on 5th and outdoor drinking in the Oregon District early, as a small crowd was in attendance over the weekend.

Staff with Public Health ― Dayton & Montgomery County were in the Oregon District observing conditions over the weekend and looking for noncompliance with mask and safety requirements, but they did not write any violations, said Dan Suffoletto, an agency spokesman.

Fairly small crowds turned out, and public health decided not to recommend the closure of the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) at this time, he said. However, he said, the final decision is up to the city of Dayton.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Nan Whaley in a Facebook live video said Out on 5th will be allowed to operate this upcoming and final weekend.

“I appreciate the Oregon District businesses great work on this effort,” she said. “But please do what you can to help them stay safe: keep your distance and wear a mask.”

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Colder weather may have helped limit crowd sizes, and people “did a lot better” staying safe last weekend, she said.

The Out on 5th program closes East Fifth Street in the Oregon District on the weekends to create a pedestrian promenade. The pilot program started in early September and ends this weekend.

Last week, Whaley threatened to shut down DORA and Out on 5th after photographs surfaced from Oct. 10 showing packed crowds outside of bars in the district.

Most people in the photos were not wearing masks or socially distancing, which Whaley and public health officials says is unacceptable, given rising COVID-19 infections.

Whaley on Tuesday said COVID-19 cases are still rising, and people need to be more careful at home and when socializing.

She said people need to wear masks and practice social distancing when they see friends and family.

“It is important for your safety but also the safety of others in our community,” she said. “We appreciate all you’re doing to protect front line workers, who are working in our restaurants, who are working in bars, who are working in grocery stores.”

The next 10 weeks are going to be very difficult, but the community can pull together to get through this, she said.

Though there wasn’t an issue with crowds last weekend, there were still some concerns.

Some Oregon District businesses and workers this week complained online in social media posts about encountering irresponsible customers who were not wearing masks and taking other basic precautions.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

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