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Dewine predicts reduction of COVID restrictions

However, local areas continue to see an increase in COVID cases

While Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced predicted reductions in COVID restrictions in the next few weeks and months; positive local response is still measured, in part, by increasing cases of coronavirus.

Thursday saw a jump in new confirmed cases by 43 from Wednesday’s Washington County numbers.

Plus, another death from coronavirus was logged in the county.

So while the announcement stated and then further tweeted from DeWine concerning sporting and entertainment events predicts expanded openings in the spring and summer of up to 25 percent indoor capacity and for outdoor up to 30 percent, local positive impact is still a question.

“(It) cannot hurt,” said Todd Burge, booking director for the Peoples Bank Theatre, when notified of the expanded capacity position Thursday. “(We’re) planning a couple benefits — live stream with some audience, hopefully- for April and this means we could have 10 percent more attendees.”

Burge said by summer and fall, when shows have been booked inside the historic theater, the venue would still need full capacity.

“It could also allow for more rental events,” added Hunt Brawley, executive director at the theater. “But as Todd said, we really need full capacity to operate effectively.”

DeWine also announced coming guidance on festivals, fairs and other summer staples that local natives are missing after a silent summer on the Ohio River Levee.

“I was told that is going to be released in the next seven days … because of (a need for) planning,” noted City Law Director Paul Bertram while on a call with the Times and Planning, Zoning, Annexation and Housing Chairman Geoff Schenkel on Thursday.

Bertram agreed that early guidance from the state would aid in planning for local volunteer committees who put on the events which in past years have filled the city streets.

Janelle Patterson may be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com.

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