Marion County pandemic restrictions could change this week

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Counties around Indiana are dropping their mask mandates and other coronavirus restrictions after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control released new, looser guidance Thursday for people vaccinated against COVID-19. Marion County could be next, with changes expected this week.

In the wake of the CDC announcement, which said that vaccinated Americans generally don’t need to wear masks, social distance or get tested after a coronavirus exposure, the Marion County Health Department said it would review its policies before making decisions. Updates are expected at the department’s next biweekly COVID-19 update, which is set for Wednesday afternoon.

“The Marion County Public Health Department is continuing to evaluate current public health orders in the context of the CDC’s new guidance for fully vaccinated individuals,” said spokeswoman Aliya Wishner in a statement Tuesday. “We are hopeful about our city’s continued comeback, and anticipate recommending changes to current restrictions at the next COVID update this week.”

Some localities kept their mask mandates in place even after Indiana ended its statewide order in early April, including Indianapolis. But some of the holdouts are cutting their orders short after the new CDC guidance.

St. Joseph County, which includes South Bend, rescinded its mandate Thursday, two weeks before it was set to end on May 27, according to a news release. The day after, Monroe County revoked its own mask order, while the city of Bloomington retracted an executive order on masking and gathering limits. Both moves went into effect Monday, according to news releases.

But whatever the Marion County Health Department decides, it would just be a recommendation, Wishner noted Tuesday.

Public Law 219, which the Legislature passed over Gov. Eric Holcomb’s veto on May 10, strips local health departments of the authority to unilaterally set emergency orders containing stricter restrictions than the state of Indiana. Now, local health departments need approval from local governments to make their more rigorous recommendations binding.

Indianapolis’ City-County Council met the evening of the veto override to keep the area’s current pandemic orders in place. The council doesn’t meet again until early June, but could gather before then to address new health department recommendations.

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7 thoughts on “Marion County pandemic restrictions could change this week

  1. “Now, local health departments need approval from local governments to make their more rigorous recommendations binding.” Right, BUT if they’re NOT more rigorous (and follow CDC/science/the rest of the State’s counties’ guidance), then that approval WON’T be needed.

  2. I agree with David and Doug. The Health Dept, doesn’t need the approval of the City-County Council to eliminate their restrictions. They would only need approval if they plan to keep them in place. What earthly reason would they have (other than to control our lives) to keep any restrictions in place given the recommendations of the CDC? As far as I can tell, the rest of the State is doing quite fine without any mask requirements. Get vaccinated and don’t worry about it.

    1. Craine and Pothole march in lockstep. Pretty sure neither one has the ability or desire to make their own decisions. Fortunately, the tide is shifting and even in the Democrat Heaven of Marion County, they are going to have to go with the flow.

  3. Eliminate the mask and social distancing requirements and let all who are fully vaccinated enjoy uninhibited social activities. We are fully protected against infection, and if by chance we do get infected the symptoms are likely to be no worse than a mild case of the flu (certainly hospitalization and respirators not necessary). It will only be the unvaccinated who infect and get infected, but that’s the price they will pay for their choice.

    1. That sure sounds reasonable, if the trouble caused by unvaccinated people really only affects those choosing to remain unvaccinated. Problem is, the more unvaccinated people there are, the higher the odds that the virus will continue to circulate and mutate…and that raises the potential that it will mutate into something that DOES affect vaccinated people, too. We REALLY need to stop the virus from circulating if we ever hope to put the dangers fully behind us, and that means stubborn anti-vaxxers need to get with the program and stop being so obtuse and selfish. There really is no reason this should ever have become political…just one way our former president’s lethal sabotage continues even after he’s no longer mismanaging the pandemic response.

    2. Brett: “ we are fully protected against infection, but if we do get infected” 😂