INDIANAPOLIS — The Marion County Public Health Department will be provide new information about the current COVID-19 restrictions Tuesday morning.
As of now, capacity restrictions are still in place in Marion County even though many other parts of the state and country have fully reopened. Health leaders in Marion County have said they want to wait until 50% of the total population is fully vaccinated before lifting all COVID-19 restrictions. Right now the county is at 39%.
“We still have a little ways to go to get vaccine rates where we want them,” Dr. Christopher Doehring, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Franciscan Health said.
He said more work needs to be done to help people feel more comfortable getting the shot.
“It has largely been a community wide sort of marketing campaign to convince people to get vaccinated and early on we didn’t really have to convince too many people. Our doctors and nurses were the first to sign up because we understand, you know, what the vaccine is, how safe it is, how effective it is, as well as those who are in that 65 and above age group… they have very high rates of vaccine success in those populations. It is really the younger populations right now and some of the more marginalized, harder to reach populations where it’s really going to take I think engagement with organizations, with community centers, with churches, with trusted physicians on an one on one basis for folks,” Doehring said.
He also thinks we will see an increase in people getting vaccinated once the vaccines have full FDA approval.
It is still unclear when that might be or when Marion County could reach that 50% benchmark laid out by the county health department.
Some business owners said they are frustrated the county has not re-opened at the same pace as others and they are ready to welcome more people back in their doors, but others say they don’t mind taking it slow.
“Keeping people healthy kind of supersedes everything else,” said Jon Rangel, co-owner of La Margarita in Fountain Square.
He said the pandemic has forced them to find safer and more efficient ways to serve customers. He said he doesn’t mind waiting until county health leaders say it is safe to increase capacity.
“I think we're getting closer and closer, so you know we will wait it out a little longer until we are full blown in here… and if that's at the time that Marion County says we can do that, that's fine. If it's after that, that's fine too, but we just want to make sure that we keep the food good, our customers happy, our employees happy, so that's been a big thing just balancing all that," Rangel added.