ANGOLA, Ind. (WPTA21) - Steuben County leaders say in the face of surging COVID-19 infections they want to strike a balance between protecting public health and keeping key businesses thriving.
Starting Saturday, November 27, new coronavirus safety measures will launch for Angola and the surrounding population in Steuben County.
Last week, the Metropolitan School District of Steuben County, as well as Fremont Schools both went back to virtual learning because so many staff and students were coming down with the virus or were in quarantine.
But there are plans to get students back in classrooms in short order.
MSD of Steuben County, which includes Angola High School, is planning to stop virtual learning and return kids to in-person instruction starting November 30.
Unless COVID cases get much worse, that game plan will be followed until Christmas break.
School leaders insist that is the best way to promote top-flight learning.
New social gathering safety restrictions will run from November 27 to December 27.
Bars and restaurants will have to cut back to 50 percent capacity for patrons and will shut down from midnight to 5 a.m.
The owner of Sutton's Deli in downtown Angola understands putting the new measures in force is probably the right thing to do.
"This is a serious situation and we need to get it under control, and you know, I think it's going to hurt a lot of businesses but we'll be fine," John Sutton said.
"You know a year ago we didn't know how to spell pandemic and now we're in the middle of it. And we've got to do everything we can to be able to keep those businesses going as much as we can, but still make it safe for everybody," said Angola Mayor Richard Hickman.
Parties and other social gatherings will be limited to a 25 person capacity, but MSD of Steuben County school athletic events will still allow up to 100 people in attendance.
Fremont Schools will send elementary students back to classrooms next week, but middle and high schoolers in that school corporation will do blended learning through December.