(INDIANAPOLIS) — Indianapolis will loosen more business restrictions on Monday, the first day it’s
allowed to do so.
Marion and Lake Counties are on a slower reopening schedule than the rest of the state under Governor Holcomb’s “Back on Track” timetable for lifting coronavirus restrictions. On Monday, Indianapolis will join the rest of the state in allowing gyms and personal services businesses like hair and nail salons to reopen. Stores and malls, which have been limited to half capacity, can bump that up to three quarters.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett says restaurants can also resume indoor dining Monday. Marion County had kept that ban in place two weeks beyond what the state required, though the city authorized outdoor dining last Friday.
Indy will still keep a couple of its own restrictions in place. Mass gatherings are still capped at 50 people, half the level Holcomb has authorized in the rest of the state. And while Holcomb exempted religious services from that cap, Hogsett until now has held houses of worship to the countywide limit of 25 people. Starting Friday, they can resume normal services, but at half capacity. There’s no limit on outdoor services.
While Hogsett says the rates of infection, hospitalization and death from the virus are declining in Marion County, the county still accounts for 29-percent of the cases and deaths statewide. He and Marion County health director Virginia Caine say residents need to remain vigilant even as businesses begin to reopen.
Indy will require masks at churches and personal service businesses. The city has set up a webpage for families who don’t have masks to request them. Hogsett says they’ll be delivered by the end of June.
Hogsett says masks are a critical public-health step to avoid unwittingly spreading the virus to others. He notes Indy is only a couple of days removed from what normally would be a pageantry-filled observance of Memorial Day. He says compared to the military sacrifices honored that day, wearing masks is “a small task and a small ask.”
“To those who disagree with the science or the style of wearing masks, I have an even simpler message,” Hogsett says. “You’re simply wrong.”