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Safety remains priority as COVID-19 cases rise and Ohio State football returns

All the excitement in the air has some health experts worried.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The return of football season to Columbus also means a whole new season for bars and restaurants, many of which are getting ready to take on the crowds as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. 

Buckeye fans will be out in force on Thursday as Ohio State takes on Minnesota for the season opener. The Big Ten has said it will allow the Buckeyes to have a full season this year, and Columbus establishments are hoping to make up from last year’s financial loss at the hands of the pandemic. 

All that excitement in the air has some health experts worried. 

Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser with Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center says there are safe ways to gather. 

“This is all about exposure reduction,” said Gonsenhauser. “And so first and foremost, the best thing you can do to get yourself through the sporting season safely is get vaccinated. The second thing you can do is wear your mask responsibly.” 

Several Columbus area restaurants, including Natalie’s, have already required proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entry. Other establishments, such as Barcelona, are requiring guests to wear masks upon entry and staff to mask up at all times. 

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