By Liz Shepherd
INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb has put a pause on the state of Indiana entering Stage 5 of the “Back on Track” re-opening plan.
Holcomb announced the decision via a press conference on Wednesday, July 1. With the exception of Elkhart County, who will remain in Stage 4 through July 17, the entire state will be entering Stage 4.5, which is in effect from Saturday, July 4, until Friday, July 17. Originally, Stage 5 was set to begin on July 4.
This includes a temporary pause on increasing capacity in restaurant dining rooms, bars and entertainment venues. According to Holcomb and State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box, there are two reasons for this decision: the number of COVID-19 patients being hospitalized and admitted daily has increased during the past week; and the daily positivity rate has ticked up slightly.
Holcomb said the increase in the hospitalization rate is not to the extent where it’s threatened hospitals’ overall capacity.
“We are managing our way through this, which has been our goal from the very outset,” said Holcomb. “We pay attention to what happens around us. We didn’t take this lightly and evaluated it at every angle.”
Fourth of July events such as parades and fireworks will be allowed to continue as planned. Gov. Holcomb recommended the wearing of masks and the practicing of social distancing during such events.
Social gatherings cannot exceed 250 people. Outdoor visitation must resume July 4 at assisted living facilities and nursing homes, in accordance with the Indiana State Department of Health visitation guidelines. Indoor nursing home and assisted living visitation may resume on July 4. Hospital visitations are encouraged with precautions.
What Opens In Stage 4.5
- K-12 school operations may begin the 2020-21 academic year on July 1; extra-curricular, co-curricular activities may resume July 6
- Pari-mutuel horse racing and county and state fair racing may begin with 50% spectator capacity.
- Fairs, festivals and other similar outdoor events may open with restrictions.
- Youth overnight camps may open.
- Conventions may resume following the Gatherings and Meetings Guidelines of Executive Order 20-32, which outlines how single and multiple-site venues may operate. Masks are highly recommended for all participants.
Stage 4 Restrictions That Continue
- State government building access available by appointment.
- Dining room food service may operate at up to 75% capacity.
- Bar seating in restaurants may operate at 50% capacity.
- Bars and nightclubs may operate at 50% capacity.
- Cultural, entertainment, and tourism sites may operate at 50% capacity.
- Movie theaters, bowling alleys and similar facilities may operate at 50% capacity.
- Raceways may operate at 50% capacity.
- Venues may operate at a 50% capacity with adherence to social distancing guidelines.
- Amusement parks, water parks and like facilities may operate at 50% capacity.
- Personal services continue operations with restrictions.
- Gyms, fitness centers and other workout facilities continue operations with restrictions.
“We have to conduct our affairs to be ready for that ‘next normal,’ whatever that may be,” said Holcomb. “This gives all of us a little more additional time to manage our way through this.”