Marion County expects to lift mask mandate, ease capacity limits June 7

Marion County will wait until June 7 to ease its current pandemic-related restrictions, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced Wednesday, and could fully reopen in July if enough people get vaccinated.

On June 7, he said, the Marion County Public Health Department is expected to recommend to the City-County Council that the county’s mask mandate be lifted in most cases for residents who are fully vaccinated.

Hogsett said the county also plans to recommend loosening capacity limits for large gatherings, including allowing 100% capacity for religious services, 50% for indoor sporting events, and 75% for bars, restaurants and entertainment venues. Appointments would no longer required for personal services, although social distancing will be recommended.

Capacity limits for outdoor sporting events will remain at 50%, according to Dr. Virginia Caine, director and chief medical officer of the Marion County Public Health Department.

Caine said 6-foot social-distancing rules will still be in effect for restaurants, but the department was exploring whether that distance could be reduced to three or four feet. Many restaurant owners say they can’t reach capacity limits when they have to follow the 6-foot rule.

Residents will still be expected to wear masks when they are asked to by individual businesses and venues, the mayor said.

Unmasking will be on the honor system, said Caine. Even vaccinated people will still have to wear face coverings in hospitals, on public transit and in airports, she added.

The mayor said the county was waiting until June 7 to allow more time for people to be vaccinated and for big events such as the Indy 500, proms and graduations to take place under current restrictions.

The health department said about 38% of Marion County’s population—or 368,986 people—had been partially or fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Tuesday. About 31% of the county’s population (299,391 residents) was fully vaccinated.

The rolling seven-day average of new cases was 113 as of Monday, down from 171 on May 1.

Officials hope to fully reopen the county in July if the percentage of fully vaccinated people tops 50% and new cases drop below 100 per day. On its face, that’s not close to the 70%-80% vaccination rate experts say is required for herd immunity.

But Caine said the health department plans to count the 30% of the population diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 90 days as if they were vaccinated because research shows immunity lasts at least that long after contracting the virus.

The county has been vaccinating about 10% of its residents every 30 days, according to Caine.

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49 thoughts on “Marion County expects to lift mask mandate, ease capacity limits June 7

  1. So glad Hogsett is smarter than the CDC and keeping us all corralled for our own safety. Those who are not vaccinated are choosing to do so.

    1. The CDC recommendations include the caveat that local jurisdictions may impose or retain restrictions based on their specific circumstances and conditions. The fact the Marion County is not abandoning all restrictions is prudent inasmuch as we still lag the country in the percentage of residents who are fully vaccinated.

    2. It is literally just punishing people to say he wants to get past prom and the Indy 500 before lifting mandates. High schoolers are at a very very very very very very low risk to get or spread covid. The Indy 500 is an OUTDOOR event. It is just a reluctance to give up power plain and simple.

  2. Hogsett is petrified of the national spotlight he’ll get for the Indianapolis 500. It’s obvious. Doesn’t have the stones to lead. He’ll end up being one of the last holdouts in a red state major city in the country. Even NYC is lifting before Indianapolis. Pathetic. Indy deserves so much better.

    1. Call on your Councillor to call a special meeting to lift the mask mandate. That is what is needed RH. Otherwise, they don’t meet until June, hence the June 7th date. Up to City County Council unbeknownst to the public.

  3. Dictionary is being updated so “science” has some new synonyms of “politics” and “arbitrary guess”

    “430 days to flatten the curve”

    1. LOL, you probably said same thing about masks but there is no discernible difference in transmission rate in comparable locales with v. without mask mandates. Don’t let real data disrupt your narrative though. BTW: If you’re vaccinated, your are VERY protected according to all the data coming in. So, get our and live your life and stop worrying about the choice others make re: vaccine.

    2. Jonathan W. I am sorry that I am not as selfish or ignorant as your comment(s). Science, not politics or opinion, showed the protection (not 100%) that masks provided. Why do doctors wear masks when performing surgery or tending to ill patients? Oh ya, to protect them, based on science.

      Unfortunately there are hundreds of thousands of people in our country that cannot “get on with their lives” due to Covid. Would masks have saved them, higher chance. Would a vaccination have saved them, much higher change. Would less selfish, entitled folks wearing a mask and following the CDC guidelines saved them? We’ll never know.

      Too bad the healthcare system requires doctors to treat those that ignore and/disregard health officials directive, but then are entitled to be saved.

      I am vaccinated and will continue to wear a mask when around others in public for my health, their health and the health of our community.

    3. No David G, there is no science pointing to masks being effective in a non-clinical setting. Zero meaningful studies have been done on this. Vaccine efficacy is scientific, that’s real. I got mine. Widespread mask use by untrained people in dirty public places – inconclusive. So, we rely on data science – and the data is ABUNDANT and clear that mask use has no discernible impact on mitigation. The fact you can’t explain this scientifically or that “well gee, it seems a face covering would block stuff” is irrelevant. The data – when significant enough to reveal undeniable patterns is ALL that matters.

    4. Jonathan, where are you searching for your scientific evidence on mask efficacy and coming up empty? Try this for starters:
      https://www.pnas.org/content/118/4/e2014564118
      This is science, conducted by scientists, published in a scientific journal. Just one piece of science, easily located through a super-quick Google search. Also, please consider the fact that this past winter we had almost no flu… far, far below any typical year. There’s really only one logical explanation for that… so many people were wearing masks because of mask policies and orders, that we also happened to prevent much of the spread of the flu. If masks are so ineffective, how did they stop the flu?

  4. This is so clearly a case of “we’re not only stubborn but also stupid.” Same capacity for indoor and outdoor sporting events – even after the New York Times exposed CDC for misleading (read: lying) about outdoor transmission by a factor of 20x (1/2 of 1% v. ‘technically’ true CDC talking point of “less than 10%”) – tells you all you need to know.

  5. While in agreement with all of the comments above, it is clear that the city leaders are treating this as a political issue and not a health issue. As a result, the residents, visitors, and businesses of Indianapolis are subjected to a constant flow of conflicting information from the CDC and politicians, which will continue to “hog tie” recovery and drive consumers across the (street) county lines.

  6. They’re going to milk the bs for all they can as for power fetish!

    With what’s left, it totally meaningless for any regulatory at this point.

    Stop playing around and just drop all the rules as to get on with life!

  7. Remember these leaders at the polls next time …. the people that held the public and commerce in our downtown, events and Marion county hostage. Keep everyone fearful …. ridiculous!

  8. You all tired of this crap? Want to make a difference? Speak and take action with your votes. Vote against every single incumbent. Clean house – Republicans and Democrats. COVID wasn’t our enemy in all of this…politics was…they have been the great divider! Take back our country from politicians. Now before it is too late!

    1. He’s scared of Indianapolis being a national showcase for the end of the ‘Rona. If Joe opens up outdoor sporting, the Indy5 will sell out. In most cases, it would be an absolute power play and market the city leading the recovery with a full IMS. Just look to Texas that has done this as early adopters to non-masking resulting in zero Covid deaths this week. Instead we wimped out. Purely political cowardice.

  9. I am so happy I live in Hamilton County!
    Hogsett and the Health Department have never followed the science, they have let their ego drive the decisions that have been made.

  10. Most of this makes sense based on vaccination rates, but I have no idea why outdoor capacity restrictions would be at 50%. I’m honestly shocked at how low Marion County’s vaccination rate is. The health department needs to do a better job to push people to get a vaccine.

    1. 97% of people who are hospitalized for COVID-19 were not fully vaccinated- either no vaccine or only one dose for hospital admissions from January- April 2021. Cleveland Clinic data. That’s data. Make your own decisions, but getting vaccinated seems to be a logical choice if you want to stay out of the hospital because of COVID.

  11. what a decisive, virtuous, talented leader that God has bestowed up us in Marion County. we are blessed to be the presence of such capacity and greatness. the city is on the verge of its greatest era mostly due to the determined, tireless leadership that has been clearly visible to its citizens during the entirety of the pandemic. honestly, we should be ashamed of even complaining for this realm of leadership is unsurpassed in the city’s history. voters sure got this one right – no matter what anyone else says.

  12. 97% of people who are hospitalized for COVID-19 were not fully vaccinated- either no vaccine or only one dose for hospital admissions from January- April 2021. Cleveland Clinic data. That’s data. Make your own decisions, but getting vaccinated seems to be a logical choice if you want to stay out of the hospital because of COVID.

  13. If you believe that the Mayor is the reason for the economic devastation Indianapolis has endured, tell him about it. https://www.indy.gov/activity/write-to-the-mayor

    That’s what I do and frankly I don’t care if it hurts his fragile ego. He has definitely made a name for himself as the worst Mayor the city of Indianapolis has ever endured. He is being controlled by someone but it certainly isn’t the citizens of Indianapolis. He needs to be fired.

    I think the City County Council needs to hear from everyone who believes these continued restrictions should end. I’m going to do my part. This is infuriating! The Indy 500 is the most lucrative time of the year for the hospitality profession and the Mayor continues to just not give a damn! Enough!!!!!!!

  14. Yesterday I noted on my drive home the number of people driving by themselves with a mask on, there were quite a few and also saw several people walking by themselves with a mask on. Today I noticed some people with masks and face shields and one guy who only had his whole face covered eyes included with goggles. While I laugh at the ridiculousness of people wearing masks while alone I am perfectly fine with them wearing them 24×7 for the rest of their lives, but leave the rest of us alone please and quit imposing your power hungry rules on us. I am so over this and I’m ready to say the heck with June 7th. Lets take them off now!!!

  15. No doubt Joe Hogsett is the worst mayor in over 50 years and maybe ever.
    The mayor’s first job is the success of our city, which requires making executive decisions that cannot be perfect. In a world where every adult has had an opportunity to be vaccinated, it is grandiose to indulge personal conscience demons that lead him to think he’s responsible for the health and wellbeing of informed and FREE citizens. In doing so he is sacrificing the image and reputation of a previously brave and forward-looking city.
    Instead he has chosen to make Indianapolis a national laughing stock at the biggest OUTDOOR sporting event in the world. Sadly, Vop Osili and the City Council back him 100%. Our City Government might as well take out an ad that says:
    “Indianapolis: Headquarters of the greatest spectacle
    in nanny states; and stupid about science too.”

    His decision in this matter is MORONIC and Virginia “I’m smarter than the CDC” is even worse.
    1. Every adult has had an opportunity to be vaccinated FOR FREE.
    2. If you’ve been vaccinated, you are immune — (Joe -that means you can’t get Covid or spread Covid.)
    3. If you’re not vaccinated, and you are an adult, you are BY YOUR CHOICE risking infection. It is NOT the state’s job to protect you from yourself.
    4. If you’re under 18, the risk of covid is so infinitesimally small that it’s not worth discussing.

    Stop sacrificing our city so you can feel good.

    1. Even if vaccinated, you CAN get infected with Covid. However, the symptoms will be minimal (much like a mild case of the flu) with no hospitalization or respirator required. Proof: a number of MLB players who were fully vaccinated tested positive for Covid but show no symptoms.

  16. I wonder if Joe goes to the Indy 500 only to see that 130k of 135k fans won’t have their masks on. Come on Joe wake Up for crying out loud.

  17. Enforcement at the track should be quite the adventure. Hope the City Council just does the right thing and overturns this silly political play.

  18. Jonathan, where are you searching for your scientific evidence on mask efficacy and coming up empty? Try this for starters:
    https://www.pnas.org/content/118/4/e2014564118
    This is science, conducted by scientists, published in a scientific journal. Just one piece of science, easily located through a super-quick Google search. Also, please consider the fact that this past winter we had almost no flu… far, far below any typical year. There’s really only one logical explanation for that… so many people were wearing masks because of mask policies and orders, that we also happened to prevent much of the spread of the flu. If masks are so ineffective, how did they stop the flu?

    1. You can’t jump to the conclusion the lack of colds and flu this winter were because of masks. I would argue that you have to consider that kids were not going to school, people were working from home and generally not going out. All of the not being around each other may have played a major role in the lack of wintertime sickness. We always knew it wasn’t the cold weather. I’m not sure how you sort all this out to come up with answers if it’s even possible, but a lot of things were very different this winter and the wearing of masks may or may not have had anything to do with it.

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