Social-distance drinking: Outdoor beverage areas could be on the way


PORTSMOUTH, OH (WOWK) – Social drinking in Portsmouth, Ohio could be moving to “social-distance drinking.”

Bars and restaurants in the downtown area have seen hardships these past couple months with the pandemic forcing a majority of owners to rely on carryout and delivery options. Some restaurants have opened up for outdoor dining, but others don’t have that option being limited to smaller spaces.

The idea of presenting an outdoor drinking area in downtown seemed almost hopeless. A state legislation back in 2015 only allowed cities and townships with 35,000 residents or more to designate specific drinking areas.

Portsmouth city councilman Sean Dunne found that the idea could still become a reality.

We discovered that 2017 legislation had amended the earlier act of establishment to allow for smaller cities like Portsmouth to have one.

Sean Dunne

With the possibility of bringing outdoor drinking to Portsmouth, bar and restaurant owners are showing their support.

For the Port City Pub, this new outdoor drinking area could be a game-changer. General manager Cory Maillet says that they were forced to close right before one of their busiest days of the year, Saint Patrick’s Day.

With a designated outdoor drinking area, bars like the Port City Pub could receive the same amount of business while also bringing attention to other businesses in the same area.

On a busy night, it can be a little packed in here, so if we can spread that out and still keep business up, still keep our revenue up, making customers happy and getting them into other places too, I think it’s just a win-win for everyone.

Cory Maillet

Portsmouth City Council will continue the discussion on the idea during their next city council meeting. For more information on the city council and future meetings, click here.

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