Health officials advising fans to stay safe during Buckeyes opener Saturday


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Health officials will be monitoring bars and restaurants when the Buckeyes begin their season Saturday.

According to Kelli Newman, a spokesperson for Columbus Public Health, inspectors do compliance checks every weekend, but more of them will be out during the game. They will be checking for compliance with the state’s COVID-19 guidelines, including those pertaining to face masks and social distancing.

“In order to keep the Buckeyes on the field, we all must help and be part of the team by wearing a mask, social distancing, washing our hands, and avoiding large gatherings of people,” Newman said.

At Oldfield’s North Fourth Tavern, owner Dan Starek said he is happy to know that more inspectors will be out for the game.

“I want the inspectors to be out tomorrow,” he said. “I want everybody to be doing it right. I want people who are doing it wrong to get in trouble because they’re the reason we’re not allowed to operate at full capacity, or past 10 p.m.”

Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, from OhioHealth, said all Buckeye fans should wear face masks, practice social distancing and stay away from others if they are sick, during Saturday’s game.

Gastaldo also said high-risk individuals should avoid crowds, just as they have been advised to do throughout the pandemic.

“If you really are high-risk, I would really not recommend you go into a bar or restaurant to watch the Buckeyes because it’s not worth losing your life, or becoming very ill from watching a football game,” he said.

The Buckeyes kick off against Nebraska at noon.

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