Changes are being implemented at Gahanna Residents In Need, 165 Granville St., as precautionary measures because of concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Brenda Johnston, executive director of the organization, said the clothing pantry is closed until further notice.

She said the state of emergency Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced March 9 has prompted the changes at the pantry.

DeWine declared a state of emergency in Ohio “to protect the well-being of Ohioans from the dangerous effects of COVID-19.”

The state of emergency allows state departments and agencies to better coordinate any necesary response.

At Gahanna’s food pantry, food boxes would be provided instead of having personal shopping as a precaution to avoid person-to-person contact, Johnston said.

She said box sizes would be distributed according to family size and include all dairy, produce, meat and bread.

Johnston said food rescue - leftovers from area restaurants donating to GRIN - would not be accepted until further notice.

She said all clients are being advised to stay home if they have cold or flu symptoms and send a proxy for their food box.

The organization’s volunteers will use gloves and are advised to stay home if they have symptoms of illness.

“As clients electronically check in to the food pantry, we are asking that the volunteers do not touch their IDs, just view them,” Johnston said. “Clients will be requested to use a stir stick to type in their initials for electronic signatures.”

Although no clothing will be taken in or out of the clothing pantry, Johnston said diapers would be available upon request.

“GRIN will adhere to the necessary safety precautions for the community concerning food distribution,” Johnston said.

In addition to announcing the state of emergency, DeWine and Ohio Department of Health officials announced on March 9 that three Ohioans had tested positive for COVID-19.

The three individuals live in Cuyahoga County and have had known contact with those with confirmed diagnoses of COVID-19. Each of the individuals is in their 50s, according to a press release from Ohio.gov.

A website, coronavirus.ohio.gov, has been created to provide up-to-date information.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla