NewsLocal News / May 13, 2020

Marion County Announces Plans To Slowly Reopen Starting Friday

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announces reopening plans.  - Jill Sheridan WFYI

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announces reopening plans.

Jill Sheridan WFYI

Updated May 13 at 4:20 p.m.

Indianapolis city officials announced plans to start slowly reopening businesses. On Friday, May 15 Indianapolis will begin implementing parts of phase two of the state's plan to reopen.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett says the data shows Marion County is in a position to loosen some restrictions, but keep safety top of mind. 

"At the end of the day the numbers and charts aren’t just facts and figures," says Hogsett, "They are people."

Under the new orders, gatherings of up to 25 people, including religious services will be allowed beginning this weekend.  Non-essential retail stores may open at 50 percent capacity. 

Restaurants will be allowed to reopen to in-person dining on May 22 with outdoor seating only.

Personal services -- including salons -- and non-essential manufacturing will be required to remain closed.

"These delays are not driven by politics or spite but by careful analysis of all the data available to us," says Hogsett. 

The Marion County Health Department reports the number of deaths, hospitalizations and emergency room visits are trending down. 

MCHD Director Viginia Caine says residents must remain vigilant.

"Social distancing is really critical and it is working," says Caine. 

If these measures are successful, officials say, the city will continue with other parts of phase two by June 1.

The city also announced new programs to assist in reopening including free face coverings for Marion County residents and businesses within the next week. A $5 million grant program to reimburse smaller businesses for personal protective equipment will also be available.

The city will also help businesses to provide increased outdoor seating.

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