After months of anticipation caused by enforced closure, campus area bars will host guests once again — but it won’t be quite the same. 

Campus nightlife was put on hold for nine weeks, after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s March 15 orders to shut down dine-in bars and restaurants. On Thursday, campus area bars will start opening their doors and allowing guests inside their respective venues, as the state begins to reopen businesses after enforced closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The staff at Threes Above High are excited to reopen, bar employee and fourth-year in international business Justin DeMicco said.

“I think we’re all pumped,” DeMicco said. “We’re excited to get things going again, to get a move on.” 

Threes Above High owner Scott Ellsworth said it will be great to have the business running again after the impact the shutdown had on operations.

“It’s been horrible, just like every other bar on campus, or around the state, or the country for that matter,” Ellsworth said. “The money was not there. You’re not making a whole bunch of money, but you’ve got to keep moving.” 

With operations down, Threes, like other campus bars, was still able to offer carryout and delivery services to customers, Ellsworth said. 

He said the bar started delivering beer, then added liquor and drinks to their deliveries, including the infamous tidal wave shot in which the bartender throws a glass of water at the face of the person after they took their shot. He said Threes would deliver the shot, and follow the same procedure.

Campus bars such as Ethyl & Tank and Midway on High will not reopen Thursday due to renovations, Owen Healey, marketing director for Columbus, Ohio-based restaurant company A&R Creative Group, said.

“We really want to make sure we’re paying attention to detail throughout that renovation process,” Healey said. “We really do care about opening back up for our customer base, but we want to do it the right way.”

Healey said Fourth Street Taproom and Kitchen, also owned by A&R Creative Group, will still open Thursday with Ethyl & Tank opening Friday. She said it is too early to tell when Midway on High will open.

While bars are starting to transition to having guests in their venues, compliance with federal guidelines is still required to maintain the protection of individuals and avoid any repercussions from the state. 

DeWine announced in a press conference Monday that he would be assigning a task force of law enforcement and health department personnel to conduct safety compliance checks to ensure bars are maintaining federal guidelines to reopening. He said failure to meet these statutes could result in the loss of liquor licenses and further criminal prosecution.

Healey said Ethyl & Tank and Fourth Street Taproom and Kitchen are installing hands-free door openers, foot-pump hand sanitizers and eco-friendly disposable plates and silverware. He said both establishments will still follow social distancing rules enforced by the state of Ohio by placing tables and chairs 6 feet apart.

“We want to take it seriously. It’s not just a celebration of reopening and people coming back,” Healey said. “It is exciting, but we do want to let people know that we are taking serious protocols.” 

Ellsworth said that he and his staff will also take the required precautions and asks that guests be considerate of the guidelines and follow the rules.

“Be smart. Be safe. Be aware that your actions affect other people a little bit more right than maybe they did before,” Ellsworth said.