COVID-19 continues its rapid growth and grip on the world and Athens County’s residents, organizations and governments have responded in force. The weekend was full of drastic changes, announcements and responses for the state of Ohio, each one leaving their mark on Athens County.

Restaurants and bars

On Sunday, Gov. Mike DeWine ordered the closure of all restaurants and bars for dine-in service. To-go orders and delivery are still allowed to continue, leaving many restaurants with no choice but to switch to this format.

Bagel Street Deli on Court St. in Athens has long been a student and local favorite. Faced with the decision of close or adapt, they chose to adapt.

“We want you to know we are fully aware of the concerns and extra cautions taking place regarding the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic,” the business said in a Facebook posting. “We want to be part of the solution in mitigating the spread of this virus.”

Bagel Street Deli will now be serving customers through its front window. The business will be open for walk up orders from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“As a small business and service provider, we’ll do our best and most dedicated work to protect not only our patrons, but employees as well,” Bagel Street’s post said, saying that through their effort to practice social distancing, they open to be able to still be here for the community.

Also in downtown Athens, O’Betty’s Red Hot has continued operations utilizing its front service window. The window is normally reserved for the late night weekend crowd. They will be open with modified hours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

These are just a few of the numerous changes seemingly every dine-in restaurant in the state have been forced to encumber.

Many restaurants in Athens County will now be offering take out or delivery. Union Street Diner will still be open 24-hours a day for take out, and offering delivery from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Jackie O’s Public House and Taproom, and Eclipse Company Store will each be offering take out for both beer and food. Casa Nueva, Miller’s Chicken, Lam’s Garden, Gran Ranchero, Sol Island Bar and Grill, Los Mariachis, and many others are also open for take out.

“There’s no better time to support each other because we’re all in this together,” Jackie O’s said in a Facebook announcement.

Other restaurants have opted to close their doors for the remainder of the quarantine. One such business, Purple Chopstix, in Athens, made the announcement on its Facebook page on Monday.

“Our priority is keeping our family and amazing customers safe and healthy through theses unsettlingly and unknown time,” the announcement said. “We feel taking a short leave will make the most sense so we can safely assess the situation as a whole.”

Ohio University

Ohio University announced facility closures and reduced hours for the Athens campus on Sunday, March 15. The Division of Diversity and Inclusion will be open remotely during this time. The phone numbers for those services are listed below next to the facility name.

Beginning on Monday, March 16 the following facilities will be closed until further notice:

  • Ping Recreation Center
  • Aquatic Center
  • Bird Arena
  • Golf & Tennis Center
  • Walter Fieldhouse
  • Driving Range
  • Outdoor Pursuits
  • Templeton-Blackburn Memorial Auditorium
  • Galbreath Chapel
  • Walter Hall Rotunda
  • All dining halls, markets, and cafes
  • Wellworks
  • Athena Cinema
  • Kennedy Museum of Art
  • LGBT Center (740-593-0239)
  • Multicultural Center (740-597-2110)
  • Office for Multicultural Student Access and Retention (740-593-9376)
  • Women’s Center (740-593-9625)

The Baker University Center will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Food distribution

Trimble Local Schools announced their lunch delivery plans on Monday afternoon. Deliveries to district students will begin on Wednesday, March 18. The first delivery will occur at 11 a.m., deliveries will be completed by 12:30 p.m. The district will be running their a.m. bus route for deliveries, so those who are first to be picked up in the mornings will be the first for delivery.

The Southeast Ohio Foodbank will be hosting two mobile food distributions in Athens County.

The first will be at the Athens County Fairgrounds on March 19, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The second will be at Trimble High School on March 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

According to a release by HAPCAP, food items will be given out to income eligible families who are at or below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and are residents of Athens County. Photo I.D. and proof of residency will be required.

During HAPCAP’s distributions, people will not need to leave their cars, as a way to maintain social distancing.

More information will be provided about food distribution plans within the school districts as it is received.

Food distribution for the community

Many food resources have sprung up or redoubled efforts in light of the pandemic. The Athens County Visitor’s Bureau has collected a list of available resources for residents.

These include:

  • The Food Line – 1-800-338-4484 – Call for food assistance
  • Emergency line – 740-590-7051 (this phone accepts texts)
  • Ohio University Inn & Conference Center – Free Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday – Friday for children K-12.
  • Avalanche Pizza – Free bagged lunches to area children. Check their Facebook page for dates, times and locations.

The Visitor’s Bureau website, athensohio.com, also has a list of local restaurants open with take-out or delivery options.

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