February 25, 2021

Marion County Eases Bar And Restaurant Restrictions

Marion County Public Health Director Dr. Virginia Caine presents a slide during her presentation.  - Jill Sheridan/WFYI

Marion County Public Health Director Dr. Virginia Caine presents a slide during her presentation.

Jill Sheridan/WFYI

As COVID-19 trends continue to improve in Indianapolis, some restrictions on businesses will ease. 

The move comes as March Madness is about to begin in Marion County, but officials said Thursday that the decision to roll back restrictions isn’t influenced by the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament but rather by the numbers.

Marion County Public Health Director Dr. Virginia Caine said Marion County’s overall COVID-19 positivity rate of 3.8 percent, as of Feb. 16, is a significant improvement. It was above 7.5 percent on Jan. 23.

“I just have to thank all of us in our community who have just made extraordinary efforts to practice safe infection control,” Caine said.

Beginning March 1, restaurant capacity can increase to 75 percent, bars to 50 percent and curfew will be extended to 2 a.m.

READ MORE: State Officials Remain Optimistic Indiana Can Safely Host March Madness With Fans

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said the moves to open up capacity must come with continued vigilance.

“This change does not diminish our desire to avoid an increase in positivity rates before, during and after the upcoming NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament,” Hogsett said.

The city also announced a new COVID Community Ambassador program with a goal to vaccinate 80 percent of Marion County residents.

Hogsett said the ambassador program seeks to involve anyone interested in increasing vaccinations for all.

“For some, a loved one with first hand experience can be what finally spurs a friend or neighbor to set up an appointment,” Hogestt said.

Marion County is still reporting more than 100 COVID-19 cases per day, the goal is less than 35 a day.  Deaths, hospitalizations and emergency room visits are all down.

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