The Hamilton County Health Department on Monday issued a pandemic-related public health order that in some cases goes beyond the most recent statewide restrictions.
The county’s restrictions start at midnight on Wednesday and add new standards to the state’s color-coded risk system.
Gov. Eric Holcomb’s orders “identify minimum levels for high-exposure settings like social gatherings or events,” Charles Harris, the Hamilton County Health Department’s health officer, said in a written statement. “This order establishes stricter limits for our county based on the state’s color-coding metrics for each county.”
As of Monday, Hamilton County was listed as an “orange” county, meaning health officials have identified “moderate to high” levels of transmission. Further restrictions will be added if the county is listed in the highest, or “red,” category.
Hamilton County reported 237 new COVID-19 cases and one new death in Monday’s daily pandemic report. It’s testing-positivity rate is 17.4% for unique individuals and 10.9% for all tests.
Under the “orange” level:
- The Hamilton County Health Department will not approve any safety plans for social gatherings of more than 250 people.
- Organizers of events or social gatherings that take place in separate areas—such as banquet rooms, conference rooms or multiple sports fields—must submit a safety plan for each area. Those individual areas will also be limited to a maximum of 250 attendees.
- Attendance at community recreational sports leagues and tournaments will be restricted to 250 people—including participants, personnel and spectators.
Under the “red” level:
- The Hamilton County Health Department will not approve any safety plans for social gatherings of more than 100 people.
- The department will review safety plans for social gatherings or events spread across several rooms or areas, but only if there are a maximum of 100 attendees in each space. In those cases, the applicant will be required to keep those separate gatherings from intermingling. Each area must have its own restroom, and the event’s layout must include six feet of space for social distancing. Those event organizers are expected to maintain a list of event attendees and their phone numbers for up to 21 days following the social gathering for contact tracing purposes.
- A maximum of 100 participants, personnel and spectators will be allowed at community recreational sports leagues and tournaments. The county is strongly recommending those sporting events make use of electronic ticketing to manage capacity. Those event organizers must also maintain a list of event attendees and their phone numbers for up to 21 days following the social gathering for contact tracing purposes.
- Restaurants, bars, taverns, nightclubs and other establishments providing in-person food and drink service will be limited to 50% of their indoor capacity; must be closed between midnight and 5 a.m. for enhanced cleaning and disinfecting; limit customers to table seating, not at bars; limit tables to six people or with tables spaced six feet apart; ban self-service food stations (buffets, salad bars, etc.) unless a staff member serves patrons.
- Outdoor restaurant tent seating will only be permitted if the tent has at least two open-air sides for ventilation.
- Gyms, exercise and fitness centers, cultural, entertainment and tourism sites—including parks—will be limited to 50% capacity.
- Other non-essential entertainment businesses—including movie theaters, bowling alleys, trampoline parks, marinas and rock wall climbing facilities—will also be limited to 50% capacity.
- Salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas and other personal services will be allowed by appointment.
- The county’s health department has allowed local K-12 schools to manage and implement their own plans for maintaining education services, so long as they utilize effective and appropriate measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.