Coronavirus Update: Carryout Liquor Sales, Curbside Concerts & More
Keep up with regular news updates regarding Columbus and Ohio’s response to COVID-19 here.
The latest coronavirus update includes a ruling by Ohio Liquor Control, potential prison inmate releases, grocery stores’ reduced capacity limits, a new concert series from Can’t Stop Cbus, and as always, the numbers.
As of Tuesday, April 7, there are now 488 cases and six deaths from COVID-19 in Columbus and Worthington, the two cities under Columbus Public Health jurisdiction. In Franklin County, 911 cases and 19 deaths have been reported. That is 10 additional deaths in Franklin County reported since yesterday.
Columbus Public Health Director Dr. Mysheika Roberts said on Tuesday that many of their reported cases have been younger residents — over 30% are between the ages of 20 and 29, specifically.
Carryout Liquor Sales
On Tuesday, Governor Mike DeWine announced that the Ohio Liquor Control Commission has passed an emergency rule to allow businesses with an existing liquor permit to sell and deliver unopened alcoholic beverages with carryout.
The rule requires high-proof liquor to be sold with food orders at a limit of two per patron, and drinks containing more than two ounces of “spirituous liquor” are not permitted.
Breweries are exempt from the food purchase requirement and are also allowed to sell alcohol other than their own.
The rule will remain in effect for up to 120 days.
Potential Prison Releases
167 people in state prisons are under consideration for release, after the recommendation of Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Annette Chambers-Smith.
Like the 38 inmates under consideration for early release announced on Friday, April 3, prisoners that are violent — i.e. people convicted of murder, sexual assault and the like — are not under consideration.
Of the 167 inmates, 141 were under consideration because they met the following criteria:
- They were scheduled to be released within the next 90 days.
- They were not convicted of serious charges such as sex offenses or homicide-related offenses, kidnapping, abduction, ethnic intimidation, making terroristic threats or domestic violence.
- They had not been denied release by a judge in the past.
- They have not been incarcerated in Ohio before.
- They are not an inter-state offender.
- They do not have active warrants or detainers.
- They have not had a serious prison rule violation in the last five years.
An additional 26 inmates are under consideration because of similar criteria, as well as criteria such as their age (60 years of age or older), their medical condition and the amount of time served (at least half of their sentence).
The commutations and early releases will be based on recommendations by a parole board and/or a final decision from Governor DeWine. Victims will be notified and have an opportunity to make their views heard before the parole board.
Grocery Chain Capacity
On Monday, Kroger announced what steps it would be taking to comply with the new Stay at Home order, which requires retailers and other stores to set and enforce customer capacity limits in stores. The grocery chain said it would limit the number of customers to 50% of the international building code to allow for proper social distancing.
The standard building capacity for a grocery store is one person per 60 square feet, so reduced capacity limits will be one person per 120 square feet. The company added it would be using “industry-leading” technology already in place to monitor the number of customers in-store.
This is in addition to other measures the chain has taken during the coronavirus pandemic, such as implementing one-way aisles in select stores.
Giant Eagle also announced it would only be allowing up to 50% of occupancy based on the fire code at each store, including store employees.
This comes after Walmart announced similar changes last week, including its own reduction in capacity limits to no more than five customers per 1,000 square feet at one time, or around 20% of store capacity.
Can’t Stop Cbus announced a new curbside traveling concert series in partnership with Ricart Automotive and the Columbus Foundation. The series lets residents nominate someone to receive a free live concert from a local musician that can be heard from their curbside. More information here.
For more information on COVID-19 in Ohio, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.