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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 Council Asks State To Make Service Industry Workers Eligible For Vaccination

Nathan Dumalo

Cincinnati City Council passed a resolution Wednesday urging the state to open up vaccine eligibility to service industry workers.

Jacob Trevino owns five bars and restaurants in the Greater Cincinnati area. He asked council to do everything in their power to get vaccines to his employees and others working in hospitality.  

"At the beginning of this pandemic, I employed over 85 people; today I employ just 15," Trevino said. "Many of my former employees — some with underlying conditions or in the care of elderly relatives — cannot risk coming back to work until they are vaccinated. They continue to sacrifice financially for this community and for the safety of this city."

Interim Council Member Steve Goodin says his resolution doesn't address all of the inequities apparent in vaccine distribution.

"But this is a group that I strongly feel needs immediate access to the vaccines both for their own safety and for the elevation and improvement of their industry which is really vital to our local economy."

Mayor John Cranley sent a letter last week asking Gov. Mike DeWine to remove the age restriction from eligibility requirements, and to add 911 operators, grocery store employees, and restaurant workers to Phase 1C.

Starting Thursday, Ohioans age 50 and older will be eligible to get a vaccine, as well as several categories of residents based on occupation or underlying health conditions. 

Becca Costello grew up in Williamsburg and Batavia (in Clermont County) listening to WVXU. Before joining the WVXU newsroom, she worked in public radio & TV journalism in Bloomington, Indiana and Lincoln, Nebraska. Becca has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including from local chapters of the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and contributed to regional and national Murrow Award winners. Becca has a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Becca's dog Cincy (named for the city they once again call home) is even more anxious than she is.