Morning Headlines: Masks Required in Hard-Hit Counties; $8M Bailout Approved for Cleveland Hotel

Jul 8, 2020

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, July 8:

  • Governor requires masks for residents of 7 hard-hit counties
  • Stow-Monroe Falls school district tells 21 to self-quarantine 
  • Cuyahoga County declares racism a public health crisis
  • Department of Health issues warning on methanol hand sanitizers
  • Dorm caps, take-out dining part of Kent State fall campus life
  • Corrections officer dies after contracting COVID-19
  • Columbus abortion center closure leaves state with 8 clinics
  • State prisons resume visitations, first time since March
  • Purell maker gets $3.5M loan for new Maple Heights facility
  • 140,000 Ohio businesses got PPP loans 
  • New PPE facility approved by Cuyahoga County
  • $8 Million bailout approved for Cleveland hotel

Governor requires masks for residents of 7 hard-hit counties
Gov. Mike DeWine is requiring residents of seven Ohio counties hardest hit by the coronavirus to wear a mask when out in public. The order affecting residents of Butler, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Huron, Montgomery and Trumbull counties takes effect at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Ohio saw 948 reported cases Tuesday, pushing the total probable and reported cases statewide to 58,904. Tuesday's hospitalization count of 134 was the highest number in at least 21 days. The mask mandate comes after DeWine announced last week that he will not be issuing a statewide mandate as have a number of other states, including Ohio’s neighbor, West Virginia.

Stow-Monroe Falls school district tells 21 to self-quarantine
The Stow-Monroe Falls school district has asked nearly 21 people to quarantine for two weeks after an individual associated with the basketball and football teams tested positive for the coronavirus last weekend. The Beacon Journal reports county health officials aren’t releasing any further details, but that anyone who had contact with the individual has been notified.

Cuyahoga County declares racism a public health crisis
Cuyahoga County has formally declared racism a public health crisis. The declaration approved Tuesday requires the county to create a commission and citizens’ advisory council to provide recommendations to reduce disparities between Black and white residents throughout the county. They will develop a status report by the end of 2020. Cleveland, Akron and Summit County have all passed a similar declaration.

Department of Health issues warning on methanol hand sanitizers
The Ohio Department of Health is warning people not to use hand sanitizers that contain methanol. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found the ingredient or suspects it may be present in 17 products manufactured by Mexican-based companies. They’re sold under brand names such as Mystic Shield Protection and Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer. Officials say methanol is toxic when absorbed through the skin or swallowed. A full list of products can be found here.

Dorm caps, take-out dining part of Kent State fall campus life
Kent State University gave an update on Tuesday about what campus life will look like this fall amid the pandemic.  Residence hall capacity will be reduced, with single and double rooms are available. Each student may only have one additional person at the room at one time with face coverings. In-person options at dining halls will be reduced and to-go options will be expanded. Libraries will offer curbside pick-up for materials. Sororities and fraternities, and other student organizations, will offer both in-person and online events. All Kent State students must sign the KSU Student Pledge and adhere to the Flashes Safe Seven principles. Students have until Friday to get a refund for their pre-payment on room and board.

Corrections officer dies after contracting COVID-19
A Cuyahoga County Jail corrections officer has died after contracting COVID-19. Cleveland.com reports that Gregory Clark Jr. spent 21 years on the job. Word of his death came from the union. More than 30 officers have contracted the virus, according to the union. County records say 164 inmates have tested positive so far.

Columbus abortion center closure leaves state with 8 clinics
One of three abortion clinics in Columbus will soon close its doors after nearly 50 years of operation, leaving Ohio with eight clinics. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Founder’s Women’s Health Center will close this month after 47 years of service. Gabriel Mann, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio’s communications manager, says the closure is due to retirement and is not related to “any state actions, legislative or administrative.” The clinic declined to issue a comment to the media. The Greater Columbus Right to Life executive director wrote a letter to supporters announcing the closure and claiming it as a result of the group’s efforts.

State prisons resume visitations, first time since March
Seven state prisons will soon be allowing visitors for the first time since March. Visitations resumed last week at the Dayton Correctional Institution. Madison, Noble and Southeastern Correctional Institution are scheduled to resume visitations today, while Grafton and Warren Correctional Institutions resume later this month. Visitations will mostly held outside, with masks provided by the prison.

Purell maker gets $3.5M loan for new Maple Heights facility
GOJO Industries is getting a $3.5 million economic development loan to expand its hand sanitizer business in Cuyahoga County. County council on Tuesday approved the loan for the Akron-based maker of Purell to open a facility in Maple Heights. It will be used for manufacturing and storage, primarily of GOJO’s newest surface spray product. The facility is expected to create 100 full-time jobs within three years, and an additional 100 jobs within six years. The location is expected to open within six months.

140,000 Ohio businesses get PPP loans
In Ohio, more than 140,000 businesses received loans from a federal coronavirus aid package. The Small Business Administration released the list of recipients of the Paycheck Protection Program on Monday. Everything from law firms, to auto dealerships to churches and schools received loans totaling nearly $18 billion as of June 30. Cleveland.com reports The Ohio Democratic Party’s state candidate fund reported receiving a loan on May 6 worth nearly $334,000. Cleveland.com repots SBA records do not indicate how many jobs the party retained through the loan.

New PPE facility approved by Cuyahoga County
Cuyahoga County Council has approved spending money to build a facility to store personal protective equipment. The $1.3 million will be used to build climate-controlled facility attached to the county’s Public Works garage and will be used to store items including gloves and masks that might be needed during the pandemic or a future crisis. The project will be funded by money provided to Cuyahoga County through the federal CARES Act.

$8 Million bailout approved for Cleveland hotel
Cuyahoga County Council has approved a nearly $8 million bailout for the Hilton Downtown Cleveland. The money will be used to help recoup losses amid the pandemic, including $6.5 million in debt payments that would typically be covered by the hotel’s revenues and bed taxes collected from hotel guests. Cleveland.com reports the hotel is often described as county-owned, though the county technically leases the building from Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority. It was financed with $230 million in bonds and opened in 2016.