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Covid déjà vu in Northeast Ohio: Postponements, cancellations and changes reemerge

As the country tries to deal with surging cases of COVID-19, organizations and companies have reverted back to early pandemic changes.

CLEVELAND — As sports teams locally and around the country begin postponing games, other industries have been making changes as well to try and once again combat rising COVID-19 numbers. 

It’s a scene eerily similar to the beginning of 2020.

“I just really think that it’s getting to a point where we really have to keep our employees as safe as possible, we have to keep the community safe and I really want to do my part,” says Douglas Katz, owner and executive chef of Zhug.

That part, for Katz, means once again cutting back from nearly 40 employees to about 10 as they shut down the dining room and return to take out only.

Katz says, “I think our expectation was that we would be through the difficulty and now we’re back to where we were in March of 2020 and it’s just sort of shocking.”

Adding to the feeling of covid déjà vu, the Cleveland Orchestra canceled both holiday concerts scheduled for Sunday, Cleveland Play House canceled all remaining performances of "Light it Up!" at Allen Theatre, and Saturday Night Live returned to a show without a live audience. All of this comes as the omicron variant spreads across the country at an alarming rate, now being reported in nearly all 50 states.

“The number of cases are pretty much doubling every 48 to 96 hours depending on what area you’re in,” says Dr. Claudia Hoyen, co-director for University Hospitals Health System. “In the next several days, by Christmas, we’ll probably be over 50% omicron in this area.”

Local hospitals, like UH, are already stretched thin as they brace for what could be more trouble ahead.

Dr. Hoyen says, “We’re not in good shape in northeast Ohio, we just need this to slow down a little bit. So whatever people can do to really protect one another is where we need to be this season.”

Katz hopes the return to take out will help out the hospitals by slowing the spread and feels he has to do whatever he can to help greater Cleveland get out of this coronavirus merry go round.

“I think it’s really important for us to lead in this way and try to do what we can to keep everyone safe,” says Katz. “It’s like a marathon. We’ve made it 20 miles, we just have to go a little bit longer and I hope we can get back to some normalcy soon.”

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