CINCINNATI — Hamilton County health leaders said they have seen "no increases" in COVID-19 cases in the weeks after the launch of the designated outdoor refreshment area (DORA) at the Banks.
"Over the last month and a half, we have seen looking countywide, which includes residents in the city of Cincinnati and Hamilton County residents as a whole, we have no increases in cases over the last couple months, which is great news," he said.
Earlier this month, Gov. Mike DeWine expressed concern about unmasked people attending crowded events at the Banks possibly spreading COVID-19.
Kesterman, citing CDC guidance, added it is 18 times less likely to spread COVID-19 in an outdoor environment than in an indoor setting. This week, the CDC announced that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors around small groups.
Hamilton County recorded 137.99 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people last week, down slightly from 146.3 the week of April 15, according to state health department data. Since the pandemic began last spring, 869 people have died of coronavirus, Hamilton County Public Health reports.
Kesterman said the county has made "significant" strides in its vaccination efforts, and 41% of residents have received at least a first dose.
Health officials encourage everyone -- especially young people -- to get their COVID-19 vaccine in order to get "back to normal" this summer. Since last week, Hamilton County Public Health has run small vaccine clinics in schools.
“Originally, we had a supply problem -- we no longer have a supply problem,” said Hamilton County Commissioner Alicia Reece. "So we're able to have it available at a lot of different locations and in a lot of different ways."
The county is hosting three walk-in clinics at the Hamilton County Board of Elections, Woodlawn Recreation Center and Sharonville Convention Center. For details and times, click here.
Find more vaccine clinics in Hamilton County with this interactive map.
Relief for small businesses, venues available
Hamilton County leaders encouraged small business and venue owners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for financial relief through two federal programs.
Bars, restaurants, caterers, food trucks, breweries and other businesses are eligible for relief through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The program will provide eligible businesses with funding "equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location."
Grant recipients are not required to repay the funding as long it is used for payroll, rent, food and beverage expenses and other eligible uses no later than March 11, 2023.
Registration for the application portal begins Friday at 9 a.m., and applications open Monday, May 3 at noon. For more information, click here.
Venues affected by pandemic restrictions can also get relief through the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, which will provide $16.2 billion in economic help to this industry. Live venue operators and promoters, theatrical producers, live performing arts operators, museums, movie theater operators and others are eligible for this program.
Applications are now open for this grant. Click here to learn more.