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Coronavirus / COVID-19 Updates in Columbus

Susan Post Susan Post Coronavirus / COVID-19 Updates in ColumbusAn illustration of the Coronavirus created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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The response to the Coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve rapidly, day-by-day. Below is a list of news and updates relating to Columbus and the State of Ohio’s response to the pandemic. Find a general timeline of events, resources for aid, a list of cancellations and more. This list will continue to be amended as new updates are announced.

General Updates

  • Columbus Public Health issues tips for developing situation – March 2
  • State of Ohio reports first Coronavirus cases, State of Emergency declared in Ohio – March 10
  • Ohio sees first cases of community spread – March 12
  • DeWine issues order limiting mass gatherings to fewer than 100 individuals – March 12
  • Columbus Board of Health declares local public health emergency – March 13
  • Columbus reports first case of Coronavirus – March 14
  • Firefighter/EMT with the Columbus Division of Fire tests positive for Coronavirus – March 15
  • DeWine modifies mass gathering order to no more than 50 people – March 16
  • Franklin County Municipal Court announces all scheduled court hearings will be continued to a later date, with the exception of prisoner cases – March 16
  • Jails and correction facilities prohibit visitors – March 16
  • Second confirmed case of Coronavirus in Columbus suggests community spread – March 17
  • Department of Building and Zoning Services cancels upcoming meetings, front counter/permit desk closes – March 18
  • Area Commissions cancel March and April meetings; all boards, commissions and panels staffed by the Columbus Planning Division cancelled through April 14 – March 18
  • Federal Tax deadline delayed – March 18
  • Mayor Andrew Ginther declares local state of emergency in Columbus – March 18
  • City of Columbus suspends 72-hour parking rule, adjusts some meters on High Street – March 18
  • DeWine signs order to establish temporary pandemic child care licenses – March 18
  • Development and construction industries feel impacts of coronavirus – March 20
  • Ohio sees first Coronavirus-related death – March 20
  • City of Columbus delays street sweeping – March 20
  • DeWine issues “Stay at Home” order for Ohio – March 22
  • First Coronavirus deaths reported in Franklin County – March 23
  • All Ohio childcare centers must operate under a Temporary Pandemic Child Care license – March 23
  • DeWine outlines what is deemed “essential businesses and industries” during “Stay at Home” order – March 24
  • Survey results show impact of Coronavirus on arts and creative community across the state – March 24
  • State issues hiring freeze – March 24
  • Child care facilities to offer spaces for the children of health care workers and physicians before any other child – March 24
  • Dog license renewal deadline extended – March 24
  • Federal Tax filing and payment deadlines officially delayed to July 15 – March 25
  • Work continues on major development projects around Columbus – March 25
  • Coronavirus relief bill passes Ohio Senate – March 25
  • 188,000 Ohioans file for unemployment benefits – March 26
  • Federal and state-level stimulus bills signed – March 27
  • Columbus Public Health steps up inspections of businesses not in compliance with social distancing and hygienic precautions – March 27
  • FDA approves Battelle’s Critical Care Decontamination System for masks – March 30
  • Federal, state and local tax deadlines all delayed to July 15 – March 31
  • New homeless shelter opening for men, women and families who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have exhibited symptoms – March 31 
  • Columbus Division of Fire, the Columbus Division of Police and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office stop reporting coronavirus case numbers – March 31
  • ACLU of Ohio sends letter to the governor’s office outlining seven categories of the prison population that should be under consideration for decarceration amid the pandemic – April 1
  • DeWine signs order asking lenders and landlords across Ohio to work with their small businesses to suspend payments for at least 90 days  – April 1
  • DeWine extends telework order for state employees – April 1
  • DeWine extends Stay at Home order through May 1 – April 2
  • Ohioans file record unemployment claims – April 2

Transportation Updates

  • COTA cuts service on suburban lines, offers free rides for children – March 17
  • COTA suspends all fares – March 19
  • COTA temporarily suspends Night Owl and AirConnect service – March 19
  • Impound lot reduces hours – March 24
  • COTA rolls out “dynamic service,” CoGo still available, companies pull scooters – March 26

Resources & Aid

  • The Columbus Foundation activates its Emergency Response Fund – March 12
  • Columbus Department of Public Utilities suspends water and power shutoffs through April 15 – March 13
  • Ohio Department of Job and Family Services expands flexibility in applying for unemployment benefits – March 15
  • American Electric Power, Columbia Gas and high-speed internet providers temporarily suspend disconnections for nonpayment – March 16
  • Columbus City Schools sends out a map of where and when any child 18 or younger can get school breakfast and lunch meals – March 16
  • Anonymous donor gifts Columbus Foundation fund $1 million – March 16
  • United Way launches community response fund – March 17
  • City Council adds ordinance that commits $1 million to Emergency Human Services to support families in need of housing or food support – March 17
  •  Efforts spring up on social media to connect those in need with those willing to help; nonprofits ask for support and non-monetary donations – March 18
  • Columbus City Council expedites relief funding to local service organizations, with aid available for older adults in Columbus – March 19
  • State business owners qualify for Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program – March 19
  • Middle West Spirits partners with Columbus Foundation to make hand sanitizer for first responders – March 20
  • Crew SC owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam, Diamond Hill Capital Management donate $500,000 each to Columbus Foundation’s fund – March 23
  • In Franklin County, the Office on Aging, Child Support, Job and Family Services, and the county dog shelter remain staffed with reduced hours – March 23
  • Industries and employers hiring in Columbus – March 23
  • Create Columbus Commission launches a $5,000 young professionals fundraising match challenge – March 24
  • Greater Columbus Arts Council emergency relief program offers grants to artists – March 24
  • Battelle donates $50,000 to Mid-Ohio Food Bank – March 24
  • Franklin County Board of Commissioners announces two programs to aid small business owners impacted by COVID-19 – March 25
  • Estimating when stimulus relief will reach Ohioans – March 27
  • Rev1 Ventures, Women’s Small Business Accelerator offer resources for businesses – March 30
  • ECDI supports small businesses through the crisis – April 1
  • United Way distributes first round of grants – April 1
  • SNAP recipients now able to shop online – April 1
  • Franklin County Department of Job and Family Services providing some families with one-time cash assistance – April 2

Restaurant Updates & Information

  • Ohio bars and restaurants close to dine-in customers – March 15
  • Ohio offers liquor buy-back – March 15
  • USBG National Charity Foundation offers emergency assistance for bartenders – March 15
  • Ohio Department of Job and Family Services expands flexibility in applying for unemployment benefits – March 15
  • Cameron Mitchell temporarily closes all restaurants – Mach 19
  • Website SupportColumbusEats.com tracks restaurants still open for carry out & delivery – March 19
  • Eight local breweries offering beer delivery in Columbus – March 20
  • Central Ohio’s food-based businesses turn to meal kits, delivery and more to keep doors open during pandemic – March 27
  • Ohio Restaurant Association measures early impacts of coronavirus – April 2

Healthcare Updates & Visitor Restrictions

  • DeWine announces restrictions on nursing home visitations – March 12
  • OSU Wexner Medical Center announces inpatients and outpatients at all Ohio State health care facilities are allowed one visitor with limited exceptions – March 16
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital announces that patients will only be allowed two visitors – March 16
  • Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services prohibits visitors to state psychiatric hospitals – March 16
  • DeWine requests dentists, veterinarians and hospital systems postpone elective surgeries; Ohio Health & Mount Carmel comply – March 17
  • OSU Medical Center and Mount Carmel announce they will no longer allow visitors per CDC recommendations – March 19
  • Restrictions ease to provide expand telehealth options for all individuals covered by Medicaid – March 20
  • Senior citizen centers close – March 20
  • L Brands donates soap to first responders; OSU collecting medical supplies; Columbus State donates medical supplies – March 25
  • Equitas Health offers telehealth, prescription delivery – March 26
  • FDA approves Battelle’s Critical Care Decontamination System for masks – March 30
  • Hyatt Place Columbus/OSU offers discounts for healthcare workers – March 30
  • Federal judge rules abortions can continue in Ohio – March 31

Closures & Cancellations: Events

  • Arnold Fitness Sports Festival limits spectators, cancels EXPO – March 4
  • NBA suspends season; NCAA cancels March Madness Tournament; MLS suspends season for 30 days – March 12
  • CAPA suspends all events & performances scheduled through at least April 5 – March 12
  • Columbus Metropolitan Library cancels all classes, programs, meetings and events through at least March 31 – March 12
  • Wexner Center for the Arts cancels programming through March 31 – March 12
  • Columbus City Council cancels all upcoming meetings through April 6 – March 17
  • OhioHealth Capital City Half and Quarter Marathon and the Commit To Be Fit 5K rescheduled for August 29 – March 17
  • CMC suspends live-streaming of forums – March 23
  • Sonic Temple Art & Music Festival canceled – March 24
  • 2020 Olympics postponed – March 24
  • Olympics rescheduled for July 2021 – March 30
  • Columbus Arts Festival canceled – April 2
  • Democratic National Convention delayed until August – April 2

Closures & Cancellations: Schools

  • Ohio State cancels in-person classes – March 10
  • Colleges and universities across the state cancel in-person classes, move to online instruction – March 10
  • DeWine orders schools across the state to close through April 3 – March 12
  • Columbus City Schools sends out a map of where and when any child 18 or younger can get school breakfast and lunch meals – March 16
  • Ohio State postpones commencement – March 17
  • CCAD switches to virtual events for Art Fair, MFA Thesis Exhibition & Chroma; cancels Fashion Show & Commencement – March 20
  • DeWine orders schools across the state to close through May 1 – March 30

Closures & Cancellations: Businesses, Attractions and Community Spaces

Virtual Events

  • Arnold unveils virtual Expo – March 17
  • Craftin’ Outlaws launches virtual spring show – March 17
  • Yoga studios offer online classes – March 19
  • CCAD switches to virtual events for Art Fair, MFA Thesis Exhibition, Chroma, cancels Fashion Show & Commencement – March 20
  • WOSU Public Media launches new Virtual Experiences and Resources webpage – March 25
  • Wexner Center for the Arts extends closure through April 30 – March 27
  • Gallery Hop goes virtual in April – March 30
  • Gateway starts virtual screenings – March 31

Election Updates

  •  Polling locations at nursing homes and senior residential facilities to be moved for primary election – March 10
  • Ohio Capital Journal complies map of new polling locations – March 15
  • After back-and-forth and an evening of confusion, poll locations are closed for the March 17 primary – March 16
  • Ohio Democratic County Chairs Association issues letter to members of the Ohio Legislature outlining concerns in response to the case filed by the Ohio Democratic Party on the postponement of Ohio’s 2020 primary election – March 24
  • Ohio moving forward with all-mail primary, here’s how to vote – March 31
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