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Franklin County Level 4 Emergency prompts closures

Franklin County Level 4 Emergency prompts closures

Nicholas Youngblood

A new wave of closures is sweeping Columbus after Franklin County advanced to a Level 4 Public Emergency on Nov. 19 due to severe COVID-19 exposure and spread.

The day of the county’s level 4 designation, Ohio State president Kristina Johnson released a statement announcing all in-person classes would move online starting Nov. 20. In-person instruction was originally planned to continue through Nov. 28, with classes going online following Thanksgiving break.

“This is a moment for every Buckeye to help turn the tide,” the statement read.

The university’s libraries will also close, offering contactless service only. The statement went on to encourage students to honor the statewide curfew order and stay home when not participating in essential activities.

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The Wexner Center for the Arts also released a statement from director Johanna Burton announcing that the center will close Nov. 20 at 5 p.m., with no set reopening date. It will continue to offer virtual screenings, performances, and educational opportunities.

Columbus’ government was quick to react as well. Although parks and trails will still be available for public use, the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department announced it would be closing facilities to shift focus to meeting residents’ essential needs. Closed services and facilities include recreational activities, sports leagues, fitness rooms, the Columbus Aquatics Center, and the Cultural Arts Center.

Starting Nov. 21, the Columbus Metropolitan Library will only be open for curbside pickup and walkup services, and the Marion-Franklin Branch will be entirely closed. More information about the library’s pickup and walkup services is available on its website.

Additionally, some private businesses have decided to close their doors in the interest of public health at this time. Natalie’s Music Hall & Kitchen announced in an Instagram post Nov. 19 that it would suspend in-house dining and concerts.

“Over the past few months, we have made it our mission to create a safe environment for concert-goers and diners, because we respect our guests, our staff, and our community of musicians as part of our family,” the post said.

The restaurant will continue to offer delivery and carryout, as well as livestreamed concerts.

We will continue to monitor closures carefully to keep you up to date on all your favorite places and events.

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