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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Cincinnati Streetcar Shuts Down Monday Night

Bill Rinehart

Cincinnati's mayor and the city's health commissioner are ordering that the streetcar system be shutdown because of concerns about the coronavirus.

When service ends at its regular time tonight, the streetcar will not be running again until the city's state of emergency has been lifted.

"We are closing the streetcar during this time to protect the public from increased exposure risks to COVID-19, which can survive on metal and other hard surfaces that are routinely used by streetcar riders," said Mayor John Cranley.

The mayor said the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) had been notified about the decision. That's required since FTA grant money was used for the streetcar project, and the system has to operate by a service schedule that was provided to the agency, or the FTA could ask for the grant money to be returned.

Cranley said the temporary action should not be seen as an attempt to permanently shutdown the streetcar.  He said this a response to a public health crisis.

The order also shutdown the bike sharing service, Red Bike, and all use of electric scooters from Bird and Lime.

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.