Sunday, October 25th, 2020

Indiana now in Stage 4.5, Stage 5, July 18

Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2020

Indiana will not end its COVID-19 restrictions by moving to Stage 5 on Saturday, Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday at his weekly virtual news conference on fighting the virus.

Instead, the governor proposed a “Stage 4.5” to his Back on Track plan when some open-air events will be allowed under guidelines, but bars, restaurants, event venues and some other indoor gathering spaces will need to continue Stage 4 restrictions. The 4.5 stage will continue until July 18, the governor said.

Holcomb said officials considered the experience of other areas around the nation, including neighboring states, which have seen an upward trend in cases and hospitalizations, in pushing the pause button.

Also considered: “a slight uptick” in cases and hospitalizations in Indiana, Holcomb said. The state is not seeing cases at the level that would overwhelm hospitals, he said, but he does not want to see that happen or have the state forced into closing down again.

“A date doesn’t drive us,” Holcomb said. “data do.”

He said studies have shown the risk of transmission is up to 19 times less when people are outdoors in green lighting fairs and festivals. But he said participants should wear masks and practice social distancing. But the ruling will allow parades and fireworks events to take place during the July 4 weekend, the governor said.

Stage 4 restrictions still in effect:

• Indoor gatherings such as weddings are still limited to 250 people, with social distancing. Conventions at that level of attendance are permitted.

• Restaurants may serve patrons in indoor dining rooms at 75% of capacity if social distancing is practiced.  Bar seating and nightclub capacity is at 50% with social distancing.

• Cultural, entertainment and tourism sites, plus movie theaters and bowling alleys may operate at 50% of capacity and so may amusement parks and water parks.

• Nursing homes may start outdoor visitation beginning July 4 and begin indoor visitation with precautions by mid-July, with some starting earlier.