Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has announced that the state will not fully move forward to its final reopening phase, Stage 5. That stage had no capacity limits and was supposed to take effect over the July 4 holiday weekend.
Holcomb says most things will remain unchanged from the current Stage 4 that the state is currently in.
Holcomb says the volatility that is being seen in some parts of the state "gives us pause and prompts us to press pause on the reopening again."
Stage 4.5 will maintain current capacity levels. However, Holcomb says mostly outdoor activities will be given the "green light." He says transmission rates of the virus are considerably lower outdoors, Still, Holcomb urges mask wearing and proper social distancing.
Gatherings are still limited to 250 people for the next two weeks.
Indiana will keep capacity limits in place for restaurants, bars and entertainment venues because of worries about a possible increase in coronavirus cases across the state. The state’s reopening plan had called for those restrictions to be lifted this weekend, but Holcomb said Wednesday he would keep them in place until at least July 18. Since June 12, restaurants have been allowed 75% capacity in their dining rooms, while bars, nightclubs, bowling alleys, museums and amusement parks have been open at half capacity.
Gyms and fitness centers can continue operations at current capacity limits.
Fairs, festivals and similar events can move forward. Conventions can resume while adhering to previously released state guidance.
Holcomb says pressing pause on the reopening "gives us all a little more time to manage our way through this."
Dr. Kris Box, Indiana's Health Commissioner, called out Elkhart County as an example of how trends are moving in the wrong direction. She says Elkhart County has seen 400 new cases in the last 7 days. Both Box and Holcomb say they support the face mask mandates that are in place in Elkhart and St. Joseph counties. They say they are hesitant to require a statewide mask mandate and are leaving this to local governments.
Box says, "We didn't hold the State of Indiana back to a 4.5 just based on Elkhart." She says this has been a consistent thing over the past weeks (in Elkhart County.) She says they have stayed high in their case positivity in Elkhart County. She mentions there have also been some issues in other parts of the state, including in southern Indiana, that have caused numbers to tick up in those counties as well.
You can learn more about Stage 4.5 here.
(This report was created in part through referencing tweets by Indiana Public Broadcasting's Brandon Smith.)