On June 11th, the city of Chicago, Illinois will officially have fewer COVID restrictions in place than the city of Indianapolis. They also have a lower homicide rate per capita than the Circle City, but that’s a topic for another blog post.
Monday night, the Indianapolis City-County Council voted 19-5 to eliminate the mask mandate in Marion County for people who are fully vaccinated. That’s unquestionably a step in the right direction, but capacity restrictions still remain in place despite the council’s decision to modestly loosen them.
Here’s Where Things Currently Stand:
- Religious and funeral services may move to 100 percent capacity.
- Indoor sporting events will move to 50 percent capacity.
- Limits on large gatherings will increase from 50 to 500 people.
- Indoor service at bars will move to 75 percent capacity.
- Personal services will no longer be by appointment only, but social distancing between clients must be followed.
- Entertainment, cultural and tourism sites, such as the zoo and museums, may not host at 75 percent capacity.
- Gyms, fitness centers and dance studios may move to 75 percent capacity.
- Libraries will move to 75 percent capacity.
- Community pools may move to full capacity.
- Dancing may happen in music venues, as long as six feet of social distancing is maintained and is clearly marked.
That last one is our favorite. According to the restrictions, you and your spouse are prohibited from dancing cheek-to-cheek at local music venues. You can head home and enjoy as much vigorous sex as you like, but no dancing together in public.
Councillor Paul Annee, one of the few Republicans on the city-county council, joined the Hammer and Nigel Show Tuesday afternoon to explain why he decided to vote “no” on last night’s proposal.
Annee: “Last night Dr. Caine and the Marion County Board of Public Health came before us to continue outdated COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions for our city and county and I voted no for several reasons. The first reason is Indianapolis should be back at 100% capacity today. There is no reason why every city virtually in our nation other than Indianapolis is at full capacity. The fact is, this weekend the city of Chicago will be more open than the city of Indianapolis, and that’s unacceptable.
“Also, we did not receive the public health orders that we were voting on until about 2 1/2 hours prior to the meeting, so we didn’t even have a real chance to digest what was being put forth. And not only that, but we were going to offer a floor amendment, but the president of the City-Council denied our ability to offer a floor amendment and then the Democrats supermajority voted to end the discussion. So we weren’t even able to ask Dr. Caine the very important questions that our constituents sent us in there last night to ask.
“So bottom line, until Indianapolis is at 100% capacity we will vote no on any restrictions moving forward.”
Councilor Annee added that Indianapolis appears to be following a “different science” than the rest of the country.
Annee: “I appreciate the fact that people are saying we’re following the science, but it’s amazing to me that out of all of the major cities in our country, Indianapolis is about the only one that happens to have different science. The fact that Chicago will be more open this weekend than the city of Indianapolis is a horrible thing.”
Marion County Public Health Director Dr. Virginia Caine said that the county will reopen fully if the vaccination rate reaches 50% by July 4. According to Caine, that 50%, combined with 30% of Marion County residents who have been exposed and have natural immunity, would mean Marion County would have reached the 80% necessary for herd immunity.
But Councilor Annee says the county’s data on vaccination rates is outdated and completely inaccurate.
Annee: “Dr. Caine said that we have to be at 50% vaccination rate for the county and we’re at 36% currently. But I asked her if people who went to Florida for the winter and got vaccinated, residents who got vaccinated in other states – kids who go to universities outside of our city and state – whether they had been included in those vaccination rates and the answer was ‘no.’ So the truth is the 36% vaccination rate is outdated, it’s unreliable, and it’s unrealistic. I think you’re going to find that this county is much higher in terms of the vaccination percentage than what they are saying it is.”
Click the link below to hear Hammer and Nigel’s full interview with Councillor Paul Annee.