An Evening Out After Bars Reopen in Ohio

Photo Credit: Burst via Pexels

I am stunned right now after the experience my husband and I had this evening. We decided to go to one of the re-opened gay bars here in our state.

When the bars and restaurants here in Ohio were given the go ahead to reopen this past Thursday, May 21, they were required to do so in accordance with the guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health. Here are some of the highlights.



Understanding what we should be seeing happening, my husband and I made plans to go to the bar that is always THE place to go on a late Sunday afternoon. We were excited to be able to go back out so we made the trek. As we were on our way there, my husband and I thought more about the mandatory and recommended best practices and theorized how this bar would address the COVID guidelines.  A quick check of the bar’s Facebook page found no elaboration of any changes because of COVID-19.  I offered a theory that no one would be practicing social distancing, nor would they be wearing masks, but we were hoping for better.


When we arrive at the bar, the bar’s official doorman, who was not wearing a mask, greeted us. 

“Why are you wearing that?” the doorman asked in a flippant tone. My husband and I were wearing masks, so apparently it was an invitation for him to “mask shame” us.  “That Covid thing is not real.”

“It is real,” I said but the doorman was already dismissive of me.  We proceeded to walk to the bar’s patio as my anxiety started to surface from just the interaction with the doorman.

Before we went in to the outdoor bar area, I noticed a printed page of “guidelines” posted on the fence near the entrance which mentioned social distancing and wearing masks was not mandatory but recommended. On the patio, there were several guys without masks and not socially distancing nor were there any type of barriers to enforce safe distances.  Seeing this, my anxiety went into overdrive.

After being there for about five minutes, my husband and I decided it was time to go.  Upon leaving the bar, we could not believe how oblivious the patrons and the outdoor staff were and the lack of precautions.  We do need to give credit to the inside staff who were all wearing masks, but there was still no enforcement of social distancing.

That was it for our bar experience that night, but we did hear that another bar in the same city, the staff was apparently checking temperatures at the door, but this can neither be confirmed or denied. 

With all of the misinformation we as a populous are receiving and with no strong leadership regarding COVID best practices, what are we all to do?  I would think following the expectations and guidelines from the local and state governments would be the best for all, but many are feeling their personal liberties are being infringed when all the governments are doing is trying to lessen the deaths from COVID-19.


It is one thing to post guidelines for COVID-19 prevention but if it is just for lip service, we, the consumers, have to make the decision if we will continue going to that bar or take our money somewhere else that is actually following the guidelines.

What are your thoughts? Would you turn around and not enter a bar if the staff were not embracing the recommended best practices and if the place was not set up for social distancing? 

Source: Ohio Department of Health,

Writer’s Note: This is the opinion of one contributing writer and may not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow contributors.


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