State Officials Clarify When And How Bars Can Reopen In Indiana

May 7, 2020

The state guidelines allow restaurants and “bars that serve food” to reopen on Monday in most of the state, at 50 percent capacity. Meanwhile, bars and nightclubs are barred from reopening for several more weeks.
Credit (Justin Hicks/IPB News)

State officials say bar owners across Indiana have to use “common sense,” in part, to decide whether they’re allowed to reopen soon.

The state guidelines allow restaurants and “bars that serve food” to reopen on Monday in most of the state, at 50 percent capacity.

Meanwhile, bars and nightclubs are barred from reopening for several more weeks.

READ MORE: Governor Holcomb Outlines How – And Why – The State Will Reopen

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana 2020 Two-Way. Text "elections" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on COVID-19 and the 2020 election.

Gov. Eric Holcomb explains the rationale.

“Bars are typically areas where you’re sitting very close to each other, maybe on stools, standing closely,” Holcomb says.

Holcomb's general counsel Joe Heerens says even restaurants that have bar areas must keep those sections closed off in the early stages of reopening.

“Bars and taverns that might provide popcorn or Hot Pockets, that really don’t have a legitimate restaurant feature to it – we have to apply common sense to this,” Heerens says.

Heerens says the state’s Alcohol and Tobacco Commission can provide further guidance to bar owners.

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.