INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis City-County Council voted Monday to approve lifting the mask mandate for fully vaccinated people and new capacity limits.
In May, Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department, announced plans for the new recommendations, including lifting the mask mandate for people fully vaccinated.
People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their final COVID-19 vaccine dose.
Even those who are fully vaccinated will still need to wear face masks in some situations, like in healthcare buildings and on public transportation.
The following capacity restrictions were approved with a 19-5 vote:
- Religious services and funerals: 100% capacity
- Indoor service in bars and restaurants: 75% capacity indoors
- Personal services, like salons, barbershops and spas: No appointment required and maintaining six feet between clients
- Indoor sports or other large events: 50% capacity
- Entertainment and cultural institutions: 75% capacity
- Gyms, fitness centers and dance studios: 75% capacity
- Community pools: 100% capacity
- Large gatherings: 500 people
- Music venues: Dance floors open with six-foot social distancing clearly marked on floor
- Libraries: 75% capacity
- Youth and young adult camps: Overnight camping permitted, masks aren't required for campers younger than 7
According to the public health orders, the new orders go into effect at midnight Tuesday.
Five Republican City-County Councilors, Minority Leader Brian Mowery-District 25, Paul Annee-District 23, Josh Bain-District 20, Mike Dilk-District 24 and Michael-Paul Hart-District 18, voted against the new health orders.
"At tonight’s City-County Council Meeting, our entire Republican Caucus proposed to follow the science and open Indianapolis 100%," the councilors said in a joint statement following the meeting. "It is beyond absurd that Democrat leaders have decided to keep burdensome capacity restrictions on Indianapolis business while most cities in the state and nation are dropping these restrictions."
“This is welcome news I think for our community, but it does not mean this is the end of the pandemic yet,” Caine said. “In the marathon to end this COVID-19 pandemic, we can see the finish line and now is the time to dig deep and sprint to that finish.”
The county health department will also recommend a full reopening when 50% of Marion County's population is fully vaccinated and the county has fewer than 100 new cases per day, Caine said. The goal is to reach these goals by July 4.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health's COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard on Monday, 43.9% of Marion County's population is fully vaccinated and 45.6% of the population has received at least one dose.
Quentin Bracken, who works at Bazbeaux's Pizza in Broad Ripple, said although it's great to see things slowly getting back to normal, he's not too sure if this was the best thing to do right now.
"I don't think there's nearly enough people that have been vaccinated yet to be able to unmask the whole country," Bracken said.
Kyla Chandler also said it feels risky and rushed.
"Seems like an experiment to me. But I think it's not smart," Chandler said. "I think that it would be wise to keep the mandate for protection and safety."
In Indiana, those 12 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. To learn more and schedule an appointment, visit ourshot.in.gov or call 211. Walk-ins are accepted at many vaccination sites in the state.
You can read the new health order below: