County health department doubles outdoor event capacity limit

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A 25% capacity limit on large outdoor events will double to 50% beginning Thursday, the Marion County Public Health Department announced Wednesday.

The change is in response to Centers for Disease Control guidelines updated last week, Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the department, said at a news conference. The new recommendations say that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear masks outdoors, except at crowded events.

Those holding large events and gatherings will need to collect contact information from attendees to help out contact tracers if there’s an outbreak, Caine said. That information will be included in the risk-mitigation plans organizers submit in advance to the health department. The department has been working with large events on this already, a spokesperson said, but Wednesday’s updated health order makes it official.

The new, higher cap won’t change the attendance limits at the Indianapolis 500 on May 30, according to Caine.

“I believe that the current number of spectators that they’re going to have is 137,000, and I have no new information that that is going to change,” Caine said. “Although, that is a little bit less than 50% capacity. I’m only currently going based on the plan that I have received.”

Social gatherings will remain capped at 50 people, while large indoor events will still be limited to 25% of venue capacity.

But fully vaccinated residents might not always have to keep their masks on inside. The health department teased a potential vaccination incentive that could enable businesses to allow unmasking among the inoculated.

“We’re in the process now of trying to involve some innovative incentives out there to help make it more easy … to go into establishments without wearing masks,” Caine said. “… We can have some mechanisms or ways for businesses to say, ‘If you’re vaccinated, hey—you can come into this part of our business and you don’t have to wear a mask.'”

Caine compared the concept to separate smoking and non-smoking areas. More details could come at the next city-county COVID-19 update later this month, she said.

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One thought on “County health department doubles outdoor event capacity limit

  1. So you increase the capacity for everywhere except the track? Remember when the Colts couldn’t have as many fans as Indy Eleven? Is the director of the health department even elected? Arbitrary guidelines again from the top but follow the science!