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NEW: Indianapolis To Relax COVID-19 Restrictions Monday To Host March Madness With Fans

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis will relax coronavirus restrictions on the city’s bars and restaurants starting next week ahead of the upcoming Big Ten and NCAA men’s basketball tournaments. The changes announced Thursday will allow bars to operate at 50% capacity instead of 25% starting Monday, while restaurants will see their indoor restaurant capacity increase from 50% to 75%. Mayor Joe Hogsett says bars, restaurants and music venues will also be able to close two hours later, at 2 a.m. He says the relaxed restrictions were prompted by drops in the city’s COVID-19 cases and its coronavirus positivity rate, and not due to the upcoming Big Ten and NCAA men’s basketball tournaments.


State officials reiterated Wednesday they believe the state will be able to safely host the NCAA Men’s Division I basketball championship games next month even with fans.

But it remains unclear how states will share information on positive test results from fans attending March Madness from out of state.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said individuals from out of state who are tested in Indiana will have their results shared with their home state. 

“Our out of state individuals will, that NBS data or that lab data, gets forwarded to the states and it goes onto their dashboard,” said Box.

READ MORE: Hospitality Industry Welcomes March Madness Attendance, Health Expert Preaches Caution

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But if a fan visiting from another state tests positive once they return home, it’s not clear how that information will reach those who came in contact with that person in Indiana for contact tracing.

Health and safety protocols for the teams were released in January that include regular testing, tracking devices to help with contact tracing, and a quarantine bubble for participants. 

Last week the NCAA announced it would be letting some fans attend this year's championship games with a 25 percent capacity cap at each facility.

Contact reporter Samantha at or follow her on Twitter at @SamHorton5.

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