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Music Box Ready To Open To Diners And Concertgoers

On March 15, Governor Mike DeWine closed Ohio’s eateries due to the coronavirus pandemic, allowing only take-out and delivery service.  On May 15, restaurants and bars were permitted to reopen for outdoor dining. Dine-in service was permitted to resume on May 21.

At each juncture, Ohio restaurant and bar owners have had to determine if it was the right time to reopen their establishments.

For venues where live entertainment is an important part of their business, an added factor came into play: How to safely present music for both patrons and performers.

After much deliberation and a lot of preparation, Mike Miller, vice-president of Music Box Supper Club, said the restaurant and performance space on the West Bank of the Flats is ready to open its doors Thursday.

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[Music Box Supper Club]

“We decided to go a little slower, take some time, make sure we could get everything right. We're going to really focus on safety. We spent time looking forward to see what date we thought that we could be ready. We procured a lot of PPE (personal protective equipment) for staff, masks and hand sanitizer and surface sanitizer. We prepared to rearrange the tables and chairs so that we had the appropriate spacing. We're going through some extensive training now with COVID-19 protocols for our staff,” Miller said.

Employees will have a complete health assessment each day when they arrive for work, including having their temperature taken, as well as reviewing a list of symptoms and confirming with a signature that don’t have any of them. Employees will also be required to wash their hands every 30 minutes as well as to frequently change gloves. Hand and spray sanitizer will be available throughout the establishment.

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[Music Box Supper Club]

Music Box will follow state guidelines that require patrons to be seated at least 6 feet apart and to only dine with people they know. Common areas where people could previously mingle will be eliminated. Diners can access the day’s menu on their cellphone or be given a paper menu, which will be disposed of after the patron uses it.

Free masks will be available and signs throughout the establishment will encourage patrons to wear masks any time they are not seated at their table, but customers will not be required to wear them.

Miller said a plan has been devised to allow the Music Box to resume presenting live music and other entertainment on both of its stages.

“We have a downstairs space, which is on the waterfront. We have a garage door, which we’ll be able to open to let in a lot of fresh air. That stage is small, so in that space we’ll present bands of four people or less, so that they can space out onstage. Plus they’ll be further back on the stage than we would normally present them, so there will be a further distance between them and the audience,” Miller said. “Our upstairs stage is very large, so we have measured it out and we can handle almost every band we ever present. We can give them nice spacing from each other and a nice distance from the audience,” Miller said.

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[Music Box Supper Club]

Music Box is a large venue, so spacing concerns are easier to accommodate than for smaller places, but reducing the amount of people who can come to eat and catch a show still isn’t ideal, but it beats the alternative, Miller said.

It is going to significantly cut back on revenues because we're cutting capacity in half, but it’s certainly it's better than zero, like we are experiencing right now. We hope that a vaccine comes along sooner than later that will really make it safe again for everybody. Bridging between now and then is what we have to do financially,” Miller said.

 

 

 

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