Positive trends in the number of COVID-19 cases in Marion County have prompted local health officials to allow Indianapolis bars to begin reopening.
Starting Sept. 8, bars and nightclubs will be allowed to open at 25 percent indoor capacity. Outdoor seating will be capped at 50 percent. Table seating will be mandatory for patrons, while dance floors and bar seating will remain closed.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said Thursday there will be penalties for those who do not comply.
"The reopening of these venues will only last so long as business owners and customers take their obligations, under these public health orders, seriously," Hogsett said.
Bars that don’t serve food were closed following a spike in Marion County COVID-19 cases this summer.
Marion County Public Health Director Dr. Virginia Caine said residents have done a good job following public health orders ahead of the holiday weekend.
"I do not want to see the community repeat the surge we witnessed after the Fourth of July," Caine said.
Other existing public health orders, including the mask mandate, remain in place.
Marion County’s positivity rate dropped in August to 5.3 percent. New cases and hospital admissions were also down.
Despite the encouraging numbers in Marion County -- and elsewhere across the state -- Indiana health officials echoed Caine's concerns of another surge, urging residents to take coronavirus precautions seriously over the Labor Day weekend.