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Indianapolis will ease restrictions Monday, but at slower pace than rest of state

Posted at 10:07 AM, Sep 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-27 19:15:38-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Marion County will continue reopening Monday, but not at the same speed as the rest of Indiana.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Marion County Public Health Director Virginia Caine said Friday at a news conference the county will not move to Stage 5 on Saturday. However, Indianapolis will make some progress toward reopening.

"Because of the population density, our approach will differ from rural and suburban counties," Hogsett said. "Frankly, it would be irresponsible if it did not."

Beginning Monday:

  • Restaurants, bars, nightclubs and food establishments will be allowed to have 50% indoor capacity and up to 100% outdoor capacity.
  • Museums, cultural and other entertainment venues can open at 50% capacity.
  • Gyms and fitness centers can expand to 50% capacity.
  • Live entertainment can resume at bars, clubs and performance venues with social distancing and a 10-foot buffer between stages and the audience.
  • Churches and funeral homes can conduct indoor services at 75% capacity and outdoor services at no capacity limit.

Hogsett added that restaurants and bars will continue to be required to close at midnight.

"I know this lost revenue is significant for many of our nightlife destinations, but we do believe the reduction in spread among younger residents has been driven in no small measure by this policy," he said.

Restaurant and bar owners have been especially critical of Marion County's restrictions. A group of owners filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the City of Indianapolis and the Marion County Public Health Department that said the "stringent and inflexible business restrictions" have led to millions of dollars in losses over the past six months.

RELATED | Group of Indy bar owners sue city, health department over COVID-19 restrictions

In Friday's news conference, Hogsett also addressed Halloween and said Marion County officials are working to put together a plan and expect to provide an update next week.

As of Thursday, 765 Marion County residents have died with COVID-19 and 21,196 have tested positive, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. The county's 7-day positivity rate among all tests is 5% and 6.6% among unique individuals.

On Wednesday, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb said the state would move forward to Stage 5 Saturday. People and businesses are asked to continue practicing social distancing.

Under Stage 5, restaurants, nightclubs and bars may open at full capacity, but social distancing between people and tables must be maintained. Fitness centers can resume normal operations.

Stage 5, including the state's mask mandate, will be in effect until at least Oct. 17. Indiana has been in Stage 4.5 since July 1.

WATCH | Friday's news conference