(INDIANAPOLIS) – Marion County still hopes to have half its residents vaccinated for COVID by the Fourth of July.
Indy will ask the City-County Council on Monday to loosen capacity limits, and end a mask mandate for people who are vaccinated. But health director Virginia Caine says capacity limits won’t be fully lifted until half the county is vaccinated. The county’s at 35% now — it’ll take 4,400 vaccinations a day to meet the Fourth of July target.
The city is awarding a million dollars in grants this week to community programs to reach people who can’t get to the vaccine or don’t trust it. Caine predicts those grants will unleash “a whole new army” of volunteers who know their neighborhoods and how best to address people’s mental or logistical obstacles to getting the shot.
The county will set up a vaccine hotline Saturday for people who don’t speak English, with volunteers fluent in nine languages. And Wednesday is the first of three mass vaccination clinics this month at Indianapolis high schools focusing on teenagers.
Caine says her goal is to allow full-capacity crowds at Lucas Oil Stadium when the Colts begin their season this fall, but says it depends on the community. Indianapolis is the only NFL city which hasn’t committed yet to full capacity.
Caine’s two other benchmarks for lifting restrictions have been met. The county’s positivity rate has dropped below 5%, and the daily average of new cases has dropped to 77, less than half what it was just a month ago.
One in six Marion County residents is under 12 and doesn’t have an approved vaccine. That means the county needs to reach 60% of the rest of the population to cover half the county.
Monday’s request to the City-County Council will end capacity limits for funerals, and increase the limit for bars, museums and entertainment venues from half-capacity to three-quarters. Personal-services businesses like hair salons will no longer be appointment-only, and a cap on mass gatherings will increase from 50 people to 500.
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