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Some outdoor diners spotted in Youngstown and Warren

Mahoning Matters is checking to see how business is at Valley restaurants and salons today, as the state continues to relax its orders that shut down many businesses during the pandemic.
V2 outside dining 05152020
Customers were seen enjoying lunch outside at V2 Wine Bar and Trattoria on Federal Street in downtown Youngstown on Friday, May 15, 2020. (Jess Hardin/Mahoning Matters)

YOUNGSTOWN— Mahoning Matters reporters are checking in today on restaurants and salons that are taking part — or not taking part — in reopening.

In downtown Youngstown, V2 Wine Bar and Trattoria on Federal Street was among the few city restaurants that took advantage of the opportunity to provide outdoor dining.

Tommy Porter was eating there with friends and said he believes that once people give it a shot, they’ll feel comfortable venturing out to restaurants.

At Mocha House along High Street Northeast in Warren, a handful of diners soaked up the noontime sun and spring breezes with relatives, or by themselves. All said it just felt good to get out of the house after months inside or traveling strictly between work and home.

Owner Nick Liakaris said the coffee and sandwich spot's breakfast rush was big Friday, but mostly for carryout. He expects the dine-in "thaw" will be gradual and invoked President Franklin Delano Roosevelt by saying, "The only thing to fear is fear itself." 

At Strands Hair Studio along Vienna Avenue in Niles, guests are ushered one at a time into the studio, first to the bathroom near the entrance to wash their hands, then to the salon in the back. Only the customers are allowed in -- and they must wear masks -- and stylists use staggered workstations, leaving some empty at a time, to keep distance between them.

Stylist John Myers, who, like all Strands stylists, is an independent contractor, said the business is doing everything it can to make customers feel it's safe to return to the salon, even if it means more downtime for workers, as the salon's in-store volume has been drastically reduced.

What have you experienced today? Share what you've seen if you've been out and about with us at,