FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced that Indiana will not go fully to Stage 5 of the Back on Track Plan by Saturday, but rather announced Stage 4.5 – which will temporarily pause fully lifting the restrictions on capacity of dining rooms, bars and entertainment venues.
The Governor said that much will remain the same as Stage 4 and emphasized that Indiana has the capacity to care for patients at the current time. The delay in moving to Stage 5 is to make certain that the hospitals are not overwhelmed and that Indiana avoids the serious spikes in cases seen elsewhere in the United States.
He cited a slight uptick in the daily positive numbers as well as an increase in patients hospitalized as further data that has delayed the move to Stage 5, which is now tentatively set for July 18.
While a few restrictions will lift on July 4 in version 4.5 of the plan, most will stay in place. Elkhart County will remain fully in Stage 4 until at least July 17. Local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines.
“While most of our health indicators remain positive, our data indicates a need to be extra cautious, which is why we will pause much of our Back on Track roadmap,” Gov. Holcomb said. “I urge Hoosiers to maintain vigilance in social distancing and wearing masks so we can continue to reopen our state for business.”
Gov. Holcomb has used data to drive decisions since the state’s first case of the novel coronavirus in early March and he continues to do so as the state continues a sector-by-sector reset. The state will move to reopen while continuing to monitor and respond to these four guiding principles:
- The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients statewide has decreased for 14 days
- The state retains its surge capacity for critical care beds and ventilators
- The state retains its ability to test all Hoosiers who are COVID-19 symptomatic as well as health care workers, first responders, and frontline employees
- Health officials have systems in place to contact all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and expand contact tracing
Through at least July 17, the following restrictions will continue:
- Social gatherings following the CDC’s social distancing guidelines will be limited to up to 250 people. This limit applies to wedding receptions, parties, and other events where people are in close physical contact for extended periods of time, particularly indoors.
- Dining room food service may continue operations at up to 75 percent capacity as long as social distancing is observed. Bar seating in restaurants may continue operations at 50 percent capacity. Bars and nightclubs may continue operations open at 50 percent capacity as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines.
- Cultural, entertainment and tourism sites may continue operations open at 50 percent capacity.
- Movie theaters, bowling alleys and similar facilities may continue operations open at 50 percent capacity.
- Amusement parks, water parks and similar facilities may continue operations open at 50 percent capacity. Reservations are encouraged to limit the number of customers at any one time.
- Raceways may continue operations open at 50 percent grandstand capacity.
Beginning July 4, fairs, festivals and other similar outdoor events may open. Pari-mutuel horse racing and county and state fair racing may begin with 50 percent spectator capacity. Youth overnight camps may open.
K-12 school operations may begin the 2020-21 academic year on July 1. Extra-curricular, co-curricular activities may resume July 6.
Outdoor visitation is required at assisted living facilities and nursing homes beginning July 4 and indoor visitation may begin. Hospital visitations with precautions are encouraged.
Hoosiers 65 and over and those with high-risk health conditions – who are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus – should adhere to social distancing guidelines and remain cautious. Face coverings in public places are highly recommended.
Gov. Holcomb and Indiana State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box, M.D., FACOG, today announced a statewide initiative to encourage Hoosiers to wear masks to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The #MaskUpHoosiers initiative is launching with videos and photos of state government leaders, celebrities, and Hoosiers from all walks of life sharing their heartfelt reasons for wearing a mask in public, which is one of the strongest steps possible to limit the spread of COVID-19, saving lives and allowing the state to continue its phased re-opening. Additional photos and videos will be featured as the educational campaign progresses. Visit www.coronavirus.in.gov/maskuphoosiers to learn more.
To learn more about the different stages and the associated dates to get a better understanding about where we’re going as a state, click here to see the full plan: BackOnTrack.in.gov