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Some Columbus restaurants, music venues opting for mask, vaccination requirements for patrons

Some Columbus restaurants, music venues opting for mask, vaccination requirements for patrons

Jack McLaughlin

Yesterday, Ohio reported more than 2,000 COVID cases in a single day for the first time since April. And since Gov. MIke DeWine lifted mask mandates in June, daily cases numbers have climbed.

A handful of local bar and restaurant owners are now requiring diners to wear masks or provide proof of vaccination.

Natalie’s, the popular spot for coal-fired pizza and live music, is one of the more prominent names in the Columbus food scene opting for such measures.

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“Due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases, we will start requiring proof of a completed vaccination (or a negative COVID-19 test result 48 hours prior to entry) effective Wednesday, August, 11 2021,” a statement on one the restaurant’s social media pages reads. This will apply to both Natalie’s Grandview and Worthginton, in addition to Light of the Seven Matchsticks.

And they’re not alone, either. Barcelona Restaurant in German Village and Pattycake Bakery are both currently requiring all guests to wear masks.

According to Conor Stratton, owner of the High Street bar and music venue Ace of Cups—where proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test is required for entry—one of the reasons behind his bar opting for stricter policies is a concern for both guest and employee safety.

“Just making efforts to ensure that everyone is safe and we don’t go backwards here,” he said.

As many of these policies have been launched recently, it’s difficult to gauge just how long they’ll be in effect. For Stratton and Ace of Cups, it will be until a larger percentage of the country receives vaccinations, or the CDC advises that such precautions are no longer necessary. 

And even though only a small portion of Columbus eateries are enacting proof of vaccination and requiring masks, many other restaurants, such as the fast-casual Vietnamese spot 6-1-Pho, are still implementing “soft” requirements to combat the spread of COVID.

“Right now, no, we do not require masks unless you’re not vaccinated,” said owner Lisa Bui. She noted that the restaurant is not making customers prove whether or not they’ve received a COVID vaccination. They do, however, require proof of vaccination for their employees.

Bui also noted that the eatery isn’t against adopting stricter safety measures in the future if COVID concerns continue to trend in the wrong direction.

“Absolutely if things get worse our staff will take any precautions needed,” she said. “Hopefully it won’t go there.”

If you like this, read: Clintonville bakery announces opening date for new spot

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