September 25, 2020

Marion County Eases Some Restrictions, But Won't Join State At Stage 5

A chart shared during Friday's press conference shows the age range of COVID-19 cases in Marion County. - screenshot of virtual press conference

A chart shared during Friday's press conference shows the age range of COVID-19 cases in Marion County.

screenshot of virtual press conference

Marion County is not joining the rest of the state in a full reopening, but there are some easing of coronavirus related-restrictions on businesses.

The county is reporting decreased COVID-19 rates allowing bars and nightclubs in Indianapolis to increase capacity to 50 percent inside. Outdoor seating for restaurants and bars will increase to 100 percent. Live entertainment can also resume with social distancing measures.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said he understands the frustration residents and businesses have, but said the restrictions are necessary because Marion County is much bigger than other counties.

"Because of the population density, our approach will differ from rural and suburban counties, frankly it would be irresponsible if it did not," Hogsett said. 

Some Indianapolis restaurant and bar owners are suing the city saying the restrictions have impacted them unfairly.

Hogsett said there is more money set aside for small businesses relief that will be available soon. 

Marion County’s positivity rate is below 5 percent and the number of new cases has dropped.  Marion County Public Health Director Virginia Caine said most importantly, the number of deaths is down.

"We have stopped losing lives related to COVID-19," Caine said. "These are what these measures have been put in place for.

Other businesses, including gyms and museums, may increase capacity to 50 percent. Religious services may increase to 75 percent inside. 

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced plans to move the state to the last stage of reopening this week, allowing most places to operate at full capacity.

Masks and social distancing are still required in Indiana. 

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