Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday said he would issue an executive order to keep the state in Stage 4.5 of its pandemic recovery plan through Aug. 27.
In addition, Holcomb said he was extending the state’s landlord moratorium on evictions though Aug. 14. The moratorium, which prohibits landlords from initiating court proceedings to kick out their tenants, has been in effect since mid-March.
Holcomb will be extending Stage 4.5 for the second time. He first announced Stage 4.5 of the Back on Track plan on July 1. It was initially supposed to cover the period from July 4-17, but the governor on July 15 extended the stage for at least another two weeks, which means it could have expired Thursday without another extension.
Stage 4.5 was not part of the original Back on Track plan but was implemented when officials became wary of moving from Stage 4 to Stage 5, representing full recovery with no restrictions on business and social behavior.
Holcomb said the additional extension of Stage 4.5 to Aug. 27 was needed because Indiana’s COVID-19 testing positivity rate continues to rise. The current positivity rate is 6.8%, compared to a low of 4.5% in mid-June.
“We’re hopeful, but we have to do everything that we can,” Holcomb said.
Local governments are allowed to issue more stringent plans. In Indianapolis, Mayor Joe Hogsett has implemented tougher restrictions, including closing bars and nightclubs through at least Aug. 12 and limiting restaurants to 50% dining capacity.
Here is the plan, according to the state:
Stage 4.5 (through at least Aug. 27)
– Social gatherings, following the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, will be limited to up to 250 people. This limit applies to wedding receptions, parties, and other events where people are in close physical contact for extended periods of time, particularly indoors. But “special or seasonal events” such as summer concerts, outdoor movies showings, fairs, festivals, carnivals, parades, graduation ceremonies, conventions, fundraisers, sport or racing competitions, outdoor shows or other outdoor entertainment events, are allowed to have more than 250 people in attendance if a safety plan has been approved by local health officials in advance. This would apply, for example, to the Indianapolis 500, which is expected to run with 25% of the fans that attend a typical race on Aug. 23.
– Dining room food service may continue operations at up to 75% capacity as long as social distancing is observed. Bar seating in restaurants may operate at 50% capacity. Bars and nightclubs may operate at 50% capacity as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines.
– Cultural, entertainment and tourism sites may operate at 50% capacity.
– Movie theaters, bowling alleys and similar facilities may operate at 50% capacity.
—Gyms, fitness centers and other workout facilities may operate with restrictions.
—Personal services, such as hair and nail salons, may operate with restrictions.
– Amusement parks, water parks and similar facilities may operate at 50% capacity. Reservations are encouraged to limit the number of customers at any one time.
– Raceways may operate at 50% grandstand capacity.
—K-12 schools are allowed to open and resume extra-curricular and co-curricular activities, but local school districts are allowed to choose to delay opening. In Indianapolis, schools are planning to start the year entirely virtually.
– Fairs, festivals and other similar outdoor events may open. Pari-mutuel horse racing and county and state fair racing may begin with 50% spectator capacity. Youth overnight camps may open.
—State government offices will open Aug. 17.