Indiana will stay in the current reopening stage until at least Aug. 27
The wait for the day when Indiana stores, restaurants, gyms and more are allowed to open at full, pre-pandemic capacity has been extended at least a few more weeks.
Under Gov. Eric Holcomb’s initial plan to reopen the state, restrictions on capacity and large events were to be lifted on July 4. Then the governor pushed the date back to July 18. Then Aug. 1.
Now Holcomb says you’ll need to wait until Aug. 27. Or possibly longer.
“Our persistent, high positivity rate ticking up in different parts of our state has caused us to say we’re going to remain here through Aug. 27, as it stands now,” Holcomb said Wednesday at a virtual news conference.
What we learned: Gov. Holcomb’s weekly news conference
Dr. Kristina Box, commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health, said the uptick in positivity rate prompted this newest delay, along with the increase in the number of new cases.
The 1,011 new cases reported Friday remains the highest single-day total since the pandemic began. The current average positivity rate is more than 2% higher than its low in June.
“As you’ve all seen lately, the number of daily positive tests being reported has increased,” Box said. “Over this last week, we’ve seen more than 6,400 new positive cases. That’s roughly 10% of all the cases identified since the beginning of March.”
With the rise in cases and positivity rate since the beginning of July, the governor has adjusted his response to the pandemic.
After initially declining to take what he called a “one-size-fits-all” approach, Holcomb announced last week that all Hoosiers must wear a mask in certain situations. The order took effect Monday.
What to know: About Indiana’s mask requirement
What Stage 4.5 allows
Stage 4.5 of reopening, which Holcomb introduced on July 1 after deviating from his initial five-phase plan, largely extended the rules of Stage 4.
Restaurants are allowed to be open at 75% capacity. Entertainment venues like museums and zoos are allowed to be open at 50% capacity. Bars and nightclubs are allowed to be open at 50% capacity.
Get to know them: Each of Indiana’s reopening stages, explained
But some local rules are stricter: Indianapolis, for example, forced bars to close again as cases rose in the state’s largest county. Holcomb on Wednesday repeated his support for local governments that choose stricter reopening guidelines.
The governor also said he understood local leaders are frustrated by not being able to hold large events that are often significant fundraisers but said the risk of community spread at large events is too great.
“Large gatherings without the recommended guidance … we know where that leads to,” Holcomb said.
“That’s just not the world that we live in right now,” he said, saying the state is looking at how it can provide resources to local counties that miss out on those opportunities.
In a July 16 executive order, Holcomb laid out special guidelines for special events with more than 250 people. Organizers must develop a plan and submit it to a local health department prior to the event.
“What I’m reminded of on a daily basis is this virus will take what we give it,” Holcomb said, “so it’s incumbent upon us to be on our best behavior.”
Contact IndyStar digital producer Ethan May at [email protected] or 317-402-1058. Follow him on Twitter: @EthanMayJ.
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