UPDATE: Marion County to ease stay-home order Friday, with several restrictions

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Hogsett press conference coronavirus
Mayor Joe Hogsett announced that all Marion County public schools will close. (IBJ photo/Samm Quinn)

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett on Wednesday said he will begin easing Marion County’s pandemic stay-at-home orders on Friday but with several major exclusions not found in the state’s reopening plan.

Nonessential retailers and shopping malls will be allowed to open at 50% capacity, he said, and social gatherings and worship services will now allow up to 25 people instead of 10.

However, in-person dining will not be allowed until May 22, and only at restaurants with outdoor seating. The city said it would work to expand the right-of-way to allow restaurants to offer more outdoor dining in coming weeks.

Indoor dining at 50% capacity won’t be allowed until June 1 under the plan.

Liquor stores will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity beginning Friday, and the Indianapolis Public Library system will be allowed to offer curbside pickup.

But personal services such as barbers, hair and nail salons, and tattoo parlors will remain closed until further notice, he said.

Industrial nonessential manufacturing facilities also must remain closed until further notice, he said.

Hogsett said Marion County essentially will be following Stage 2 of the state’s roadmap to reopening, except for the exceptions.

Under the state plan, almost all businesses were allowed to reopen with some limitations on May 4 (except in Marion, Lake and Cass counties). Restaurant dining rooms around the state , malls and non-essential retailers were able to open at 50% capacity. Personal services such as hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlors were allowed to open May 11 by appointment only.

“We are phasing in Stage 2, and I think we’re doing so responsibly,” Hogsett said. “If the data starts to show there will be an uptick, we’ll have to make adjustments accordingly.”

As part of the county’s reopening plan, city and county officials are working to build a stockpile of face coverings for residents who need one. And in partnership with Indy Chamber, the city will establish a $5 million grant to help small businesses pay for personal protection equipment that will be needed as they reopen.

Details of those programs and information about what restaurants need to do to expand outdoor dining are expected to be released soon.

Hogsett gave no target date for when additional phases will begin, but he encouraged businesses who are not allowed to reopen Friday to look over Gov. Eric Holcomb’s plan.

The mayor said the city is allowing data to drive decisions about what can reopen.

“The data we are looking at may look scientific, but at the end of the day the numbers and charts aren’t just facts and figures, they are people,” he said. “They are our neighbors, our loved ones, our first responders, our health care workers …”

Dr. Virginia Caine, director of Marion County’s public health department, said no one data point can show how social distancing has slowed the spread of COVID-19 in Marion County, but a decrease in several indicators shows movement in the right direction.

Those indicators include decreases in EMS runs, COVID-19 cases (especially among vulnerable populations), and virus-related hospitalizations and deaths.

COVID-19 deaths per day in Marion County peaked at about 15 in late April and had fallen to about 10 on May 6.

Expanded testing and contact tracing will continue to be important as Marion County begins reopening, Caine said. Marion County should be performing 1,500 to 2,200 tests daily and has been able to increase that number by offering community testing through community partnerships, including Kroger.

The county health department currently has 75 contact tracers but hopes to have at least 150. Caine said she would like to maintain an effective contact tracing rate of 75% or higher.

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73 thoughts on “UPDATE: Marion County to ease stay-home order Friday, with several restrictions

    1. You could leave out the word common…….they are all a bunch of self-serving idiots!!!!

    2. I’m hoping Lawrence decides to be separate on the opening issue. Beach Grove and Speedway also.

  1. Looks like if you want to go out to eat all you have to do is leave Marion County! Why do we entrust our lives to idiot politicians like these? If they were really smart and talented they’d have a real job in the private sector.

    1. Hoho. Holcomb isn’t stopping you from eating and your life certainly isn’t in his hands, unless you count at-risk people.

    2. John — you beat me to the comment. Let’s see, want a haircut, eat-in dining, a tat, other “personal” services deemed unsafe in Marion County, just drive a few miles. Amazing he thinks this solves anything. Oh and churches … what are they going to do with that 26th person that walks in?

  2. No surprise…He is clueless about business needs, science etc…He never had to meet a payroll so just continue as a Tyrant who practices Elitism and being a complete Narcissist….Idiot !

  3. In response to “Is this a joke?” The answer is yes – to the general public who have been crowding the stores, spreading germs because they think gloves = sanitary, and not wearing masks. Until the general public is able to demonstrate even a small amount of logic, common sense, and decency to others, restrictions will continue. Stop throwing tantrums and then maybe time-out will be lifted.

    1. Really Joe?
      Healthy people have 0% chance of dying from this virus.
      Why must we suffer with the high risk folks? Let them stay in with the paranoid crowd.

    2. Just think about this; the annual death rate is 5.9%, of that number 48% ( 80+) are in nursing homes, 27% (70-79), 18% (60-69), the balance is 8.9%! The economy and our lives are on hold because of a couple of thousand others are afflicted. Where does that make sense? Idiot politicians!!!!

    3. Bernard, healthy people do NOT have a 0% chance of dying, and it appears as if even if they don;t die many people will have lifelong chronic and sever aftereffects that shaves 10 years off their life.

  4. He is clueless. Thanks for helping out the surrounding counties with their economies and punishing your constitutes. This virus will never be eradicated and the sooner herd immunity the sooner back to normal as in multiple other viruses isn the past.

    1. Wrong “Dr.” Joseph H. – the virus will be eradicated when a vaccine and/ or effective treatments are developed. Herd immunity is generally thought to be effective once 60%-75% of the population contracts the virus. That would result in hundreds of thousands of new deaths, if not millions. But I suppose you think that’s a fair price to pay for you go to have dinner with your just-as-clueless friends and family and expose servers, etc.

  5. I wonder if this is doing more harm than good. Economic harm, yes, but also by incentivizing Marion County citizens to head out of Indy to other cities/towns/counties to shop, eat out, etc. Should someone be COVID-positive, then they’re potentially bringing their germs to those locales where they wouldn’t have been before. Nobody needs that.

    1. Andy E., so is the solution to let Marion Co. open up prematurely, convince collar counties to slow down, or let Darwin take it’s course?

    1. Thomas, no one is stopping you from protesting on Holcomb’s sidewalk. (But do us all a favor and don’t bring your guns.) And one ignorant man’s arbitrary is another man’s well-reasoned approach.

  6. He’s seen what even a partial lifting of the order happened in the last week. People are being fools and are only concerning themselves. Bernard is wrong, you can be healthy and still die from it, but hey apparently he doesn’t give a rats a** about the elderly or immune compromised. We are business owners and have been shut down since Mar 25th and aren’t even being given a date we can reopen. I approve of the extension. Will it hurt me monetarily, yes.

  7. The reoccurring emphasis of today’s shirade was decisions are being made per data received.

    With the many reports of those in official capacities admitting the data is deceitfully embellished, manipulated, as to be sorely inaccurate and flawed, what was said today in very meaningless.

    With much integrity missing with those supplying the data in an obvious political over medical and public safety methodology, all they have to is manipulate the numbers at will to achieve their political outcomes.

    There needs to be an auditing of all the past and present cases to certify the exact cause of death.

    “Complications of COVID-19” is a too broad of term.

    The same should go for testing as well. Is it just common Coronavirus! The common cold or flu from Coronavirus? ….or is it actually COVID-19?

    Labeling everything COVID-19 is Constitutionally criminal and should be prosecuted!

    The “New Normal” is speak for; Dumb Sheep Surrender Your Constitutional Rights and Liberties!!!

    Go work, shop, eat, and be merry!!!

    1. Darrell, I can’t help but point out your middle school education didn’t stick when it comes to spelling. It’s “charade” (as I’ve mentioned to you before).

      “…many reports of those in official capacities admitting the data is deceitfully embellished, manipulated, as to be sorely inaccurate and flawed…” How about citations please, perhaps from sources more reliable than Fox News.

      “The same should go for testing as well. Is it just common Coronavirus! The common cold or flu from Coronavirus? ….or is it actually COVID-19?” Are you really that ill-informed?

      “Go work, shop, eat, and be merry!!!” and infect the unsuspecting that don’t share your ignorant beliefs so they can take it home to their elderly parents. You are self-centered to the extreme.

  8. If over the past 6 weeks, if people have not been washing their hands, social distancing, wearing a mask when out at the grocery, etc. no amount of extended stay-at-home and closure of business is going to get them to wake up and to start doing it now. Either you understand and “get it”, or you just don’t care. If masks and social distancing are a requirement, the businesses will enforce it (many doughnut counties have establishments enforcing their own extra rules for safety). And, the stink eye is quite effective when you have to alert somebody that they are crowding you.

  9. To this point, the Governor of Indiana and the Mayor of Indianapolis have taken this pandemic seriously and have demonstrated a decent amount of concern for the health and well being of Hoosiers. Leadership is appreciated during this unprecedented time.

    1. This is not leadership, leadership would identify the hot spots (think crime stats) and make a plan accordingly. If Castleton is the hot spot why is Camby not open. Typical government inefficiency and lack of plan. One size fits none approach.
      Of course hiding Joe has not missed a paycheck but has he even answered one question from the public, NO.

    2. Because people don’t just stay in one area. People don’t live and work and shop in the same area.

      You’re advocating for a peeing section of the pool and saying everyone else in the pool will be just fine if they don’t go to the peeing section. Viruses don’t work like that.

  10. All of these people complaining about the restrictions will still be whining when they and their family are stricken with the disease. Some of these ‘freedom fighters’ are really just big children who cry whenever they don’t get their way. As soon as they do, and it turns out they were wrong all along, I’m sure it’s going to be someone else’s fault that they were allowed to “work, shop, eat, and be merry.”

    I’m tired of being stuck at home, too, but reading your comments only makes me want to side with the mayor.

  11. Politicians Out Of Touch

    Over the past decades, downtown Indianapolis has been a crown jewel of activity, attractions, and growth; far removed from the ghost town it was in the 60s and 70s. Unfortunately, current judgements can quickly return us to the inglorious past. Mayor Hogsett, although a nice guy, has taken action that will wipe out a significant number of restaurants in downtown Indianapolis. These establishments were already struggling with a forced shutdown of all revenue, a PPP program that was so restricted and limited in scope that it provided nothing more than a band aid at best, and an Enhanced Unemployment Insurance program that incentivized a lot of employees to stay home rather than return to work under the PPP provisions.

    While the rest of the state of Indiana was trying to safely open their doors, Indianapolis restaurateurs were waiting patiently for delayed opening of May 18, with safety restrictions in place. Tables and chairs were removed for social distancing, PPE was rush ordered to make sure it was on time, employees were brought in to be trained on safety procedures, and food and inventory was ordered…all at the expense of restaurateurs. With a stroke of a pen, Mayor Hogsett smacked all of those good faith efforts down by not only delaying opening further, but also making opening available only to those restaurants that had outdoor seating (and good weather).

    This proves what we have known all along. Career politicians are completely out of touch with business or commerce. While living on a government paycheck, they have never had to sign payroll checks, manage inventory, or run a business. Poor decisions like the one made by Mayor Hogsett on May 13 will wipe out many restaurants and cause others to move out to the surrounding counties, leaving a ghostly void in downtown Indianapolis. That void will affect business, tourism, conventions, and the tax base of Indianapolis. It will a have a ripple effect on property values as well as increased poverty and crime in the city as well.

    None of this is to intimate that COVID-19 is not to be taken seriously. We must protect our elderly and those with underlying health issues from this horrible virus. We must also protect our employees and hospitality guests as they enter our restaurants. And those who make the decision to venture from their homes to restaurants and other businesses must be responsible and respectful of others. But it is clear that the judgement of individual citizens and the private business sector can be trusted far more than those of career politicians.

    1. Jack B., where to start in correcting your commentary? Noting the troubles of downtown Indianapolis from 25 years ago has nothing whatsoever to do with what is the best course of action during this pandemic. And the unfortunate consequence of a pandemic is the economic destruction left in its wake, including, yes, may restaurants, among other businesses. That is a sad outcome but part of the cost of public safety. Hogsett had zero to do with the PPP. “But it is clear that the judgement of individual citizens and the private business sector can be trusted far more than those of career politicians.” This comment is self-evidently false.

    2. “But it is clear that the judgement of individual citizens and the private business sector can be trusted far more than those of career politicians.” This comment is self-evidently false.

      So Ed please pontificate on how government is better positioned to provide you “public safety” than I as an individual can provide my self.

      When seconds count the police an minutes away, not a knock just a fact.

    3. Steve R., funny how guns entered the discussion. I don’t care if you opt to arm yourself in your home to shoot an intruder since the police are several minutes away. (I note that, statistically, you are much more likely to kill yourself accidentally or via suicide, a spouse or family member with whom you’re having an argument, or your child sneaking in late at night after curfew, than you are to shoot an intruder, but that’s another issue altogether.)

      As to objecting to “But it is clear that the judgement of individual citizens and the private business sector can be trusted far more than those of career politicians”, it’s absurd to think the Average Joe, who does not have access to all the data and experts that government leaders have at their disposal, is better positioned to decide the best course of action for public safety.

  12. The vast majority of comments here are very telling of the stupidity and selfishness of the commentors, just like most of today’s Americans. This country is screwed.

    1. Michael, you are correct when intelligent people allow elected and unelected public officials to convince a health society to quarantine, we are screwed. You quarantine the sick and the high risk. Basic immunology is humans need flora, virus, staph and streptococcus to ward of disease. When we allow them destroy freedom and liberty in the same fell swoop, then we are really helically wound around axis.

    2. Steve R., this isn’t the flu bug we’re talking about. Your analogy is without merit. What on earth do you know about “basic immunology”?

  13. To all of the people who are saying what is wrong with you, just stay home, obey and stop complaining… that must be easy to say when you are not a business owner like me who has paid over $200,000 in rent for closed businesses. That doesn’t even count utilities, payroll, etc… I’ve spent over $400,000 during this crisis all while having zero money coming in! Like every other business, despite paying my premiums for years without making a claim, my business interruption insurance claim was denied. I’m very conservative fiscally and have run a successful business for years, I’ve been responsible but despite that, my bank account is almost zero now. I’ve been to the grocery store several times during this, there are only about 50% of people who wear a mask. We can’t sit home forever, there are always risks when you go out but the great thing is if you feel like you want to do that then you’d still have that option if things were reopened. but then again, you are probably the ones who are making more on unemployment than you do working… because of the extra $600 bump, my friend has a 17 yr old high school daughter who is making $812/week in unemployment… that is RIDICULOUS!

    1. Joe, you’ve been dealt a crappy hand and I know many business owner’s in the same boat. It boils down to the health safety of the public is more important than every business surviving. Lives are more important than businesses. Did you apply for EIDL or PPP? That might help a little. And you can stuff the sarcasm that the ones who don’t agree with you must be leaches feeding off the unemployment comp roles. My guess is not many have IBJ subscriptions.

  14. I am sad to see this turn into a gripe board. The Covid-19 virus is applied because this is not the first coronavirus. That said, things are evolving and changing daily.
    Yes, Jack, we all need to be responsible and respectful, but unfortunately, many are not. These above people, along with the ones who want to eat, shop, and return to normal, are the very ones who will be responsible for a resurgence of this virus.
    Many people and businesses are struggling financially and we all are tired of staying home. Our State government, unfortunately, not the Federal, is trying to help us sort through all this and make good decisions. If you think they all have no common sense and don’t “get it”, why don’t you stop whining and run for office if you think you can do a better job? What is your contingency plan, who are the experts you are consulting? This isn’t just about you, it is about all of us, and these aren’t easy decisions.

  15. If you want to send business to every county that borders Marion county…this is the way to do it. No Rhyme or Reason. 60 days ago all we had were doomsday scenarios projections/predictions based on limited/filtered data from China and folks in global government with an agenda. Everyone agreed to lockdown to “flatten the curve”. Now the goalposts have changed to “we have to make sure that no one ever dies of this virus ever” which is an impossible goal. We have gained a great deal of information over the last 60 days in regards to how this virus operates and who is most at risk. There is no longer a need to lock down the population who is not at risk. The speed of the innovative efforts that are taking place around the world to treat and increase immunity is what is truly unprecedented. It’s amazing what private business can do when governmental regulatory restraints are removed. I believe that anyone who continues to push out and predict/project doom and gloom has an agenda that is not in the best interest of the United States as well as the global community. If the events of the last 60 days cause us all to wake up, pay more attention, and get more actively involved in preserving our Constitutional Republic and working towards following and enforcing our Constitution, it’s a very good thing. If the events of the last 60 days cause us all to wake up, pay more attention, and get more actively involved in preserving our Constitutional Republic and working towards following and enforcing our Constitution, it’s a very good thing. THEY” want you to feel hopeless. “THEY” want you to feel as if nothing can be done. “THEY” want you to feel as if there is nothing that one person can do to stop and prevent this.

    1. Omar H., must be hard to live in a conspiracy-filled bubble. Literally none of what you said is correct.

    2. Ed had to put Omar in the conspiracy box to shroud him in lunacy, but Ed has never research outside of his comfort zone. Omar well stated.

    3. Steve R., nice try. You have zero clue as to what kind of research I have done on C-19. And Omar truly is a full-blown Fox News.

    1. LOL! Good luck with that! I just had to pay my property taxes this week and for doing so online, was charged a $370 processing fee for the luxury of doing so in Marion County. But yet, I could not make it in person. $370 processing fee? yep! Ridiculous.

    2. You didn’t “have” to pay your property taxes this week. The late fees are waived until July 15, so unless you were already a payment behind, there’s no consequence of late payment until then.

  16. I am excited that other people have opinions. Quarantine the sick and at risk and open this up, the curve has been flattened and hospital have furloughed employees. We are all going to have to get COVID 19, so we have the anti bodies, long before they come up with a faux vaccine.

    1. Oh, for gosh sakes, Steve R. The curve has been flattened in many areas, but not all and certainly not Indiana or Marian Co. We are NOT all destined to get COVID unless nincompoops run around infecting everyone at the cost of hundreds of thousands or millions of lives. We are most certainly headed to a second wave due to red states opening up too soon. But you can choose to disagree. Let’s come back to that issue in 8 weeks and see what happened. We still don’t have a reliable antibody test and we aren’t 100% positive that one can’t get re-infected. A “faux” vaccine? Now I know you’ve been listening to too much Rush/ Sean

  17. Good god, I thought the fact that the IBJ has a paywall would make this comment section less of a disaster zone full of low-effort “Joe is a tyrant, sacrifice the old” posts.

    1. Debbie H., I’m sorry if I’m upsetting you with rebuttal of ill-informed comments. Left unchecked, these are the people who will influence politicians and others to make bad decisions.

    2. Unfortunately IBJ is putting the Covid-19 coverage outside their paywall…so we get Darrell (and his brothers Larry and Darrell) commenting.

  18. I assume that those of you who support the Mayor’s order are living off of your retirement, are being paid to work from home or are independently wealthy. Those who own businesses that are shut down or are employees of businesses (such as restaurants) that are shut down and can’t work from home are getting desperate. If you are fearful of getting infected you don’t have to go out. The high risk folks that live in nursing homes definitely won’t be going out to any restaurants that are opened. What does keeping the businesses shut indefinitely (in the case of barbershops and the like) or even a few extra weeks accomplish? Won’t the virus just continue to lurk in the shadows and come back when we finally do come out from our bunkers? I thought that the point of the shutdown was to avoid over stressing our healthcare system. By all objective data, that has been accomplished in Indiana. I say open businesses per Holcomb order.

    1. Steven A S., we are just a week or two away from getting your wish. Cross your fingers it doesn’t turn out to be a disaster.

  19. Hogsett keeps pushing it back and pushing it back. Unfortunately, he’ll probably keep doing this with other phases in the reopening. There is always going to be an inherent risk for COVID-19. Delaying the reopening of personal services, manufacturing, and other businesses is causing economic harm (and personal harm to some). Not providing a concrete timetable is terrible because people and employers cannot plan.

    Hogsett’s decision is going to cause Indy’s suburban businesses to get overrun by Marion County residents who are looking to spend their money.

    Hogsett says his team is looking at “the data”. How does the data not support Marion County to continue reopening like most of the world? Testing is increasing; death rate is decreasing; most healthcare systems have enough supplies/vents and are begging for patients to return.

  20. Life is about managing risks. There are all kinds of risks we deal with everyday. We get in our cars knowing that 38,000 people die in the US from car accidents. We eat foid that is bad for us knowing it may cause heart disease. Apparently we now only care about the deaths from Covid. Not deaths related to the flu, cancer, drugs, alcohol or other illnesses. Nonsense.
    This moving of the goalposts from “flattening the curve” so hospitals aren’t overwhelmed to “no one should get the virus” is absurd and unrealistic. Wash your hands-a LOT! Don’t touch your face. Stay home if you are sick.

    1. Do you realize that Covid-19 is the leading cause of death in the US now? More than cancer, more than heart disease. And it’s not genetic, not environmental, not due to bad eating choices. You get it simply by being out in public around other people.


      Go back and read that first sentence again. The leading cause of death in the US is something we had never heard of on New Year’s Day.

  21. Ed Ucated G., I applaud your efforts to educate the screaming mob. Someone has to try, but boy it’s exhausting trying to counter the ignorant drivel that’s out there. Keep up the good work!

    1. Cynthia L., thanks but it’s like farting against thunder as my grandfather used to say.

  22. i am writing from NJ which is one of the epicenters of this virus. I can tell you that all of you have valid concerns and opinions, however as a business owner with various interests in the Mid-West, including Indy, we cannot let the cure become worse than the disease. Not coordinating openings with the neighboring counties of Marion is a mistake. With proper guidelines adhered to and enforced including; masks, social distancing, disinfecting, phased in occupancy requirements etc. all non-essential businesses including restaurants for “in-house” dining should be opening immediately. Frankly no business, if meeting the CDC guidelines, should have been closed in the first place as it makes no sense that i can walk into a walmart, target etc..buy clothing, furniture… and not go into a furniture store, Macy’s or the like. The government picking winners and losers is a problem for me. Please stay safe and keep venting….

    1. B.B., one group is essential (food) and the other isn’t (bras). It’s hard to be as granular as you’re suggesting, that Marion Co. is closed but Hancock is open. In the end, it’s the most-densely populated areas that are most at risk. The less dense, the quicker they open. And Marion is coming on-line soon, so your business interests should be revived soon. I don’t mean that sarcastically – I have several friends and clients who are hanging on by a thread to what has been their life’s work and the source of their planned retirement, all going up in smoke. I get that side of the argument too.

  23. I think this may very well be about Hogsett trying to appear relevant. Also would not be surprised if this idiotic last minute decision has something to do with the Dems slow walking the reopening of the economy in order to hurt Trump’s re-election prospects, regardless of the impact it has on us. This won’t hurt Mayor Joe because his supporters are even more dumb than he is!

    1. John M., that’s one theory. The other is that it’s the right thing to do. So, how are we to know? Well, let’s just open it up, ignoring the CDC AND the White House’s guidance from about 2-3 weeks ago about the gateways to move from one phase to another. And then when another 100,000 die in the next 2-3 months, we can say “Oops, I guess it wasn’t a conspiracy.” And then DT will go down in epic flames, except of course for the 40% of people who really would vote for him even if he “…(stood) in the middle of Fifth Avenue and (shot) somebody…”

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