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Marion County will start opening a little more Friday, but many restrictions remain in place

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Posted at 10:49 AM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 15:40:09-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Dr. Virginia Caine of the Marion County Health Department announced Wednesday that the city would begin some of the steps in the state's "phase two" for reopening starting Friday.

Some of the new things being allowed starting Friday include increased public gatherings and the opening of some non-essential businesses.

“We believe that if the trajectory of this virus continues to stabilize and hopefully decline, that the remainder of these phase two reopening may be possible as soon as June 1," Hogsett said during the press conference on Wednesday.

Starting May 15 the following begin:

  • Moving restrictions on in-person public gatherings, including religious services from 10 people to 25 people.
  • Drive-up religious services will also continue to be permitted.
  • Allowing for the qualified re-opening of non-essential retail at 50% capacity and the qualified opening of shopping malls, subject to restrictions on capacity and food service.
  • Liquor stores open at 50% capacity
  • Library is offering curbside pickup of books

Starting May 22

  • Restaurants will be permitted to allow in-person dining with outdoor seating only and with strict social distancing guidelines. The goal is to have restaurants allowed to open for outside dining by Memorial Day.

“Until there’s a vaccine, we cannot completely stop the spread of COVID-19, but based on the hard work of the Marion County Public Health Department – and each and every resident of our city – we are more confident than ever that we can manage this outbreak and adopt policies that protect our most vulnerable populations, while slowly reopening sectors of our local economy,” said Mayor Hogsett.

Things that will not be allowed under the Marion County 'phase-two' plan include:

  • Non-essential industrial and manufacturing must remain closed.
  • Personal services such as hair and nail salons must remain closed.
  • Personal services such as hair and nail salons must remain closed.

During the press conference, Dr. Caine was also asked about whether they thought schools would be able to reopen in the fall.

“I can’t say we’ll be back in the classrooms by this fall – that’s our goal,” Dr. Caine said. “It’s too early to make that determination.”

She said that they have been in talks with school systems and the Department of Education about how to prepare for either scenario, and that they will be ready to make that decision come fall.

As part of the reopening process, Mayor Hogsett also announced some new programs the city would be implementing.

One program will allow the scheduled pick-up and delivery of facial coverings for residents who have been unable to get personal protective equipment. The city is working to obtain a stockpile of masks and will be announcing their plan to distribute them as necessary in the coming weeks. Visit www.response.indychamber.com/restart to sign up to receive more information as it becomes available.

The other program will work with restaurants to secure temporary permits and permission to expand or add outdoor seating. Hogsett said the city will also be working to expand right-of-way access and allow for greater outdoor seating and service areas. This project could include temporary road closures that will allow the city to help provide a buffer for residents to comply with social distancing while also allowing businesses the ability to expand outwards so they can provide services. More information on that program can be found at www.indy.gov/dinein.

For more information see the graphics below.

Watch the full press conference below.