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State health order allows salad bars, buffets to open

WARREN — A new Ohio Department of Health order issued Wednesday allows salad bars and buffets to open, as long as staff serves the food and customers can maintain social distancing.

The order also allows banquet halls to operate with 300 guests or fewer, live entertainment in restaurants, bars, banquet and catering facilities, and allows facilities with pool, cards, pinball, video games and other congregate activities in the facilities to reopen, with guidelines.

Customers must be seated when drinking or eating, distanced and wearing a mask “except for specifically documented, legal, life, health or safety considerations and limited, documented security considerations,” the order states.

The order also allows businesses that serve food to allow self-service stations for their customers, but still requires businesses to keep common items like salt and pepper shakers off tables.

The order also recommends the facilities put up barriers if 6 feet of distancing is not possible with the building’s floor plan.

When possible, businesses also should enhance ventilation in their dining rooms and update their air filtration systems, and the order still encourages the businesses to offer curbside and delivery options.

For the fifth day in a row on Wednesday, fewer than 1,000 new coronavirus cases were reported statewide. Ohio reported 146,753 COVID-19 cases Wednesday, an increase of 903 since Tuesday, according to data supplied by the Ohio Department of Health. Of the total cases, 126,023 are presumed recovered — about 86 percent of the total cases. The state has recorded 4,687 fatalities, an increase of 132 since Sept. 16.

Mahoning County reported 3,014 total cases, 12 more since Tuesday. Of the total cases, 2,612 are presumed recovered, and one new death was reported. Mahoning County has totaled 280 deaths.

In Trumbull County, nine new cases were reported and no new deaths. There have been 1,861 total cases reported in Trumbull County, 131 deaths and 1,647 people are presumed recovered.

Columbiana County recorded no new deaths, but two new cases were reported Wednesday. Of the 1,923 cases reported in the county, there have been 80 deaths and 1,789 people are presumed recovered.

COVID-19 by the numbers

The number of cases, changes in cases and deaths in counties in the region and statewide as of Wednesday:

County Case Change since Change since Deaths

yesterday last week

Trumbull 1,861 +9 +32 131

Mahoning 3,014 +12 +43 280

Columbiana 1,923 +2 +11 80

Ohio 146,753 +903 +6,235 4,687

SOURCE: Ohio Department of Health

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