Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday said he will enact Stage 4 of the state’s pandemic recovery plan two days earlier than expected.
Stage 4 will begin at 12:01 a.m. Friday instead of Sunday as previously planned, he said, because the state was seeing positive signs in its ongoing fight against the COVID-19 virus. Holcomb’s administration has been tracking the number of ventilators and intensive care unit beds available, the hospitalization rate of COVID-19 patients, the state’s testing capacity and the state’s ability to conduct contact tracing when making these decisions.
The amount of ICU beds available continues to hold steady at 38% and the amount of available ventilators has been steady at about 83%. The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized has also been trending downward.
“Our numbers do look really good right now,” Indiana State Health Commissioner Kris Box said.
Individual counties are allowed to enact more restrictive guidelines than the state’s. Marion, Lake and Cass counties have been following a slower timeline than the rest of Indiana, but Holcomb is moving the entire state to Stage 4 on Friday. It’s unclear whether Marion County will have different restrictions. The city said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett would provide an update on the county’s restrictions on Thursday afternoon.
Here’s what happens under Stage 4, according to the state plan:
– Social gatherings of up to 250 people may take place following CDC social distancing guidelines;
– Restaurant dining room service may operate at 75% capacity with social distancing;
– Retail stores and malls may operate at full capacity with social distancing guidelines in place;
– State government building access restrictions will be lifted;
– Professional office building employees may resume work at full capacity;
– Bar seating in restaurants may open at 50% capacity;
– Bars and nightclubs may open at 50% capacity adhering to social distancing guidelines;
– Cultural, entertainment, and tourism sites may open at a 50% capacity. This includes museums, zoos, aquariums, and similar facilities;
– Movie theaters, bowling alleys and similar facilities may open at 50% capacity, adhering to social distancing guidelines;
– Community youth and adult recreational games and leagues may resume with restrictions;
– Raceways may open at 50% capacity;
– Pari-mutuel horse racing may begin with no spectators at Hoosier Park and Indiana Grand facilities;
– Charity gaming and casinos may open June 15 with the approval of the Indiana Gaming Commission;
– Amusement parks, water parks and like facilities may open at 50% capacity.
Indiana State Department of Health officials said Hoosiers should continue to wear face masks in public and work remotely when possible. Those 65 and older and those with known high-risk medical conditions should adhere to social distancing guidelines and remain cautious at work and in their communities.
Holcomb said his executive order moving the state to Stage 4 will also provide additional guidance on youth sports. The order is expected to be released by noon Thursday.
The state has slowly been reopening since May 4.
“We can’t act like this virus isn’t continuing to spread across the state of Indiana,” Holcomb said. “But we have the intensity at a managed level.”