SIDNEY — A change in plans has become the new “normal” as Ohioans try to figure out how the coronavirus (COVID-19) is going to determine whether scheduled activities are still going to be held.
The Knights of Columbus was one of the first organizations to announce a change in plans for their Friday night fish fry. Instead of it being dine-in or carryout, the decision was made that the March 13 event was carryout only.
This decision was made in response to the announcement by Gov. Mike DeWine that banned meetings or gatherings of more than 100 people.
The St. Patrick’s Day activities in McCartyville were changed Friday afternoon. Friday’s fish fry was carryout only.
The Irish Jog will begin at 11 a.m. The parade has been canceled. The Liss Miss Shamrock pageant location has been changed from the Parish Activity Center to the After Glo Center, which is the former CJE Electric Building on state Route 119. The pageant will be open to family members only. Putters Golf will be held at 2 p.m.
The all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast planned for Saturday, March 1,4, at Pasco United Methodist Church, 17457 State Route 706, Pasco, has been canceled. All church activities, Sunday services, meetings at the church have been canceled through the end of March.
Shelby Hills has canceled its classes for the three weeks mandated by DeWine.
Gateway Arts Council Director Ellen Keyes said two of their events have also been affected by the ban.
“Our COSI event on Saturday, March 14, 2021, is being postponed based on the ban Gov. Dewine put on gatherings over 100 people. He put this ban in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus,” said Keyes. “We will be rescheduling the event in the near future, so please hold on to your tickets. We will announce the new date as soon as possible. Those tickets will be honored at the new COSI date.”
The Spring Fling reception, planned for March 20, has been canceled, she said.
“We will still be awarding prizes. The winners will be notified via email and will be announced on our Facebook page. The exhibit itself is still open. The hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Weekends and evenings by appointment,” she said.
“Our April events all happen late in the month so we remain hopeful that they will happen. We are monitoring the situation and will make a call on those events as the time gets closer,” said Keyes.
The Salvation Army serving Shelby County has announced its dodgeball tournament on March 21 has been postponed until further notice.
The Ducks Unlimited annual banquet planned for April 4 has also been postponed.
Ohio Living Dorothy Love is shutting down all activities for three weeks that bring the public onto its campus. The Knotters and Night Shift Knotters of Ohio Living Dorothy Love Quilting Marathon— originally planned for March 19 — has postponed until April 16.
The Tipp City Arts Council has postponed one event and canceled another one due to COVID-19.
The quarter auction, which benefits the scholarship and children’s programs, planned for Tuesday, March 17, at the Tipp City Legion, has been postponed. A new date for the event will be announced at a later date.
The group has canceled the March artist meeting at the Rusty Harden Art Studio, which was to be held on Monday, March 30.
The Senior Center of Shelby County posed the following on its Facebook page: “While the spread of the COV-19 is a concern to many, the Board of Trustees have decided that we WILL NOT be closing the center at this time. This decision was made based on there being no confirmed cases in Shelby County. The board will continue to follow the updates from the Ohio Department of Health as well as the CDC. If it becomes necessary to close the center, we will let you know. We do ask that if you are not feeling well, have a cough, fever or shortness of breath, please do not come to the center.”
Schools have a plan
Local schools are also developing plans for the next three weeks. Of a concern is providing a meal for students.
“Russia School will be providing lunch to any student on a free and reduced lunch who requests one. We plan to use our current kitchen staff and bus drivers to deliver the meals,” said Russia Local Schools Superintendent Steve Rose.
Fairlawn Local Schools also has a plan in place.
“Fairlawn food service will be creating lunches and breakfasts for our free and reduced lunch students,” said Superintendent Jeff Hobbs. “We will be doing these one week at a time so students will get a box with five breakfasts and five lunches.”
Botkins Local School District Jeff McPheron said the district will be providing lunches for students who quality for free and reduced lunches.
Riverside Schools posted the following on their Facebook page: “Riverside Local Schools will be providing lunches for as many students (families) as we can Monday through Friday, during the week of March 16 and March 30. We are currently working with area churches to feed during the week of March 23 for Spring Break. We will have buses parked at five different locations for meal pick ups at 11am. The five locations are the American Legion in DeGraff, Cornish Drive and Miller Street in DeGraff, Mead and Humble Drive in DeGraff, the Quincy United Methodist Church, and the Quincy Ball Park. We will also deliver meals via our school vans and a bus, as needed. Call the school office to set up a provided lunch at 937-585-5981, ext. 4310 or 4300. When you call, please be ready to provide name, address, number of meals needed and if you need it delivered or you will pick up. If one of our secretaries does not answer, please leave a message with this information. Please be patient with our staff as we head into unchartered waters. We will provide as much support as possible for our students during this time.”
Sidney mayor’s statement
“For the past couple of weeks, the coronavirus outbreak has been in the news. In the past couple of days I have been contacted by several local organizations with questions that range from ‘do we really have to follow the Governor’s directives?’ to ‘can’t you just declare that Sidney is exempt from all of this?’” Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst said.
“If I had the power to exempt the City of Sidney from the coronavirus, believe me I would do so,” Barhorst stated. “Under the provisions of the Ohio Revised Code, the director of the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department has the authority to declare an emergency and direct the isolation or quarantine of individuals to prevent the spread of disease.
“The director of the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department alone is the person who is authorized by law to affect local regulations to deal with the declared emergency. That is not to say that mayors, county commissioners, and other county office holders cannot assist in helping to carry out those orders, but the director is the individual in charge in such situations,” Barhorst said.
“Under state law, the director of the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department can order local law enforcement officers to enforce the Director’s Orders. This would include orders that gatherings not exceed a maximum number of people were followed,” Barhorst said.
“I would encourage citizens to calmly heed the advice of our public health experts. I urge residents to carefully practice social distancing throughout the city. Social distancing helps to safeguard our entire community and in particular, our friends and neighbors who are most at risk of infection including older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions.
“As we work with local, state and federal officials through the duration of the crisis, I want to encourage everyone to take the necessary precautions that will help to prevent the person-to-person spread of this virus. This includes postponing large public and private gatherings. It includes postponing unnecessary travel. It includes teleconferencing. It includes taking the steps necessary to prevent the further spread of the illness, especially among our most fragile of residents,” Barhorst said.
“In addition to washing your hands, using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, and covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, social distancing is proving to be successful in helping to slow the spread of the coronavirus in other countries,” Barhorst continued. “It is also what our healthcare experts are advising.”
“Sidney is a strong and resilient community,” Barhorst said. “While this is a pivotal challenge, it is one that we can overcome by working together. That certainly includes looking out for each other, checking on our elderly and infirm neighbors by phone, not hoarding essential supplies and simply, remaining calm and patient.”
Additional information is available online (https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/) or by calling the Ohio Department of Health’s hotline (833-427-5634 or 833-4-ASK ODH).
Shelby County Sheriff’s Office
The Sheriff’s Office, in expectation of the spread of the Coronavirus, for the past few weeks we have been working on a protocol to protect the Jail, Staff, and Inmates from becoming exposed to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We have been working with the commissioners, judges, health department, and elected officials. In order to protect the Sheriff’s Office from exposure to the Coronavirus, we are taking preventive measures and restricting access to the facility,” said Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart.
As of March 13, 2020, Lenhart limited access into and out of the Sheriff’s Office until they reevaluate the situation on March 31. This decision is based on protocols put in place by President Doanld Trump and DeWine as precautionary measures to limit the spread of the disease.
“We will close the front office, suspending all records checks, and CCW’s, you can email the records clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a record by email.” said Lenhart. “We are suspending all visitation and restricting the flow of people in and out of the office. The lobby will remain open for people to use the kiosk and you will still be able to use HomeWav to see and speak with an inmate at the jail.”
The office will only do CCW’s on an emergency basis; if you have an emergency, can call Lenhart at 937-498-7833 or Chief Deputy Jim Frye at 937-494-2117 to speak about obtaining an emergency Concealed Weapons permit.
“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but we want to remain vigilant for the safety of our employees, the inmates and help reduce the spread of the coronavirus,” said Lenhart.
At the local libraries
The libraries saw fewer people visiting this week, Shelby County Libraries Assistant Director Mark Kister said, but remain open as usual. As of Friday afternoon, just a couple library programs had been canceled.
The Shelby County Libraries canceled its Teen Thursday at the Amos Memorial Public Library in Sidney through the end of March. Also, the Early Literacy Center will be closed until further notice.
Other programs will continue as planned. The libraries will monitor government recommendations and make adjustments as required, Kister said.
“This is all changing so fast,” he said. “We’re watching for recommendations.”
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a ban on gatherings of 100 or more people in the state on Thursday, but Kister said it’s rare for any of the libraries’ programs to draw that large of a crowd.
Inside the libraries, staff are encouraging patrons to practice social distancing – maintaining space between each other while browsing or sitting at tables or computers. Libraries also may limit the number of people in a certain area.
“So far we’re just trying to have people keep their distance in the library and not come in if they’re not feeling well,” Kister said.
Shelby County Libraries has advised anyone who is not feeling well to refrain from visiting the libraries. Anyone who is showing symptoms of illness, such as a fever or cough, will be asked to leave.
The libraries have increased cleaning of keyboards, phones and other surfaces. They also are heat treating all items that have been returned.
The heat treating process was rated to kill all known viruses, Kister said, although he hasn’t received any guidance on its effectiveness in combatting the new coronavirus.
For people who want to further protect themselves, they still can access library resources.
Individuals can put a hold on items and have them gathered by library staff. Patrons then can pick them up or even have them delivered to their cars in the parking lots or streets near the libraries, Kister said.
Shelby County Libraries also has e-books, audiobooks, music and movies available through its digital partners, Hoopla, RBdigital and The Ohio Digital Library. Patrons with a library card and internet access can access those free resources from anywhere.
“It’s got a big collection,” Kister said. “As people have to stay home, it might be a good time to need some items.”
Shelby County Libraries also has suspended late fees and fines for now in response to DeWine declaring a state of emergency in Ohio.
“No one needs to worry about coming in just for fines,” Kister said.
Auglaize County Libraries has announced all of its library programs have been canceled and all meeting and study rooms have been closed through April 3. It also has waived late fees through April 5.
For more information about the Shelby County Libraries, visit https://shelbyco.lib.oh.us, call 937-492-8354 or visit one of the libraries in Sidney, Anna, Botkins, Fort Loramie, Jackson Center or Russia.
Reach Melanie Speicher at email@example.com or 937-538-4822.
Reach Kyle Shaner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-538-4824.