INDIANA (WPTA21) - Ahead of a holiday weekend in the midst of a global pandemic, Indiana is set to ease restrictions put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb previously laid out a five-stage approach to get the state's economy back on track by Independence Day.
For nearly 20 days, most of Indiana has been in what he called "Stage 2."
Gov. Holcomb said back on May 1 that in order to reopen the economy, four things must happen: the state must monitor the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, retain the capacity to treat a surge of patients, have the ability to test all Hoosiers who are COVID-19 symptomatic and have the ability to contact trace all cases.
On Friday, Gov. Holcomb and his staff are confident we're ready to move to "Stage 3," but warns he will close things down again if the data shows a need to.
Starting Friday, May 22, most of the state will enter "Stage 3."
As the state lifts restrictions and more people return to work, visit a store or restaurant, and participate in more activities, health officials fully expect the number of COVID-19 cases will increase.
Gov. Holcomb said if these principles cannot be met, all or portions of the state may need to pause on moving forward or may need to return to an earlier phase of the governor’s stay-at-home order.
Even though Indiana is easing restrictions, health officials are still recommending Hoosiers wear a mask to protect themselves and others.
Here's what changes on Friday:
- In Stage 3, Hoosiers 65 and over and those with high-risk health conditions – who are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus – should remain at home as much as possible. Face coverings in public places are recommended. Hoosiers who can work from home are encouraged to continue to do so.
- Social gatherings of up to 100 people will be permitted following the CDC’s social distancing guidelines.
- Retail and commercial businesses may open at 75% capacity. Shopping malls can open at 75% capacity with indoor common areas restricted to 50% capacity.
- Gyms, fitness centers, yoga studios, martial arts studios, and similar facilities may open with restrictions. Class sizes should be limited. Equipment must be spaced to accommodate social distancing and cleaned after each use. No contact activities are permitted.
- Community pools may open according to CDC guidance. Community tennis and basketball courts, soccer and baseball fields, YMCA programs, and similar facilities may open with social gathering and social distancing guidelines in place.
- Community recreational youth and adult sports leagues may resume practices and conditioning while adhering to social gathering and social distancing guidelines. Contact sports, such as lacrosse and football, are prohibited, but conditioning and non-contact drills may take place.
- Youth summer day camps may open on June 1.
- Raceways may open with restrictions and no spectators.
- Campgrounds may open restrictions, including social distancing and sanitation precautions. State park inns will reopen.
- Restaurants and bars with restaurant services may continue to operate at 50% capacity, but bar seating must remain closed. Personal services such as hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlors may continue to be open by appointment only and must follow social distancing guidelines.
- Movie theaters and playgrounds, which had been projected to open in stage 3, will remain closed. Movie theaters are now projected to open along with other entertainment facilities and venues during stage 4. Playgrounds are to be determined.
Here's what stays closed:
• Overnight youth camps
• Bars and nightclubs
• Cultural, entertainment, and venues
• Amusement parks, water parks, and tourism sites
• Festivals, fairs, and parades
• K-12 buildings, facilities, and grounds closed
for school-sponsored education, sports,
and other activities through June 30; daycare
at school facilities encouraged to open
• Movie theaters
In the previous "Stage 3" plan, playgrounds and movie theaters were slated to open.
However, Gov. Holcomb and his staff have pushed back those openings.
Before the state issued this updated guidance, the Fort Wayne Parks Department announced they are opening area city playgrounds Friday.
However, due to updated state guidance, both playgrounds and city splash pads will remain closed.
You can read the state's full guidance here:
The Critical Industries Hotline continues to be available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday to respond to business and industry questions about whether a business is considered essential.
The center may be reached by calling 877-820-0890 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org