INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb says most of Indiana can proceed to Stage 3 of his reopening plan starting Friday, May 22.
The move will not include Marion, Cass and Lake counties, which will move to Stage 3 on June 1, according to Holcomb.
Holcomb said Indiana had “earned the ability to continue to move forward” through social distancing, good hygiene and the wearing of masks.
“People have been, by and large, for the most part, I always say 99-percent, have been paying attention to wearing a mask when you’re in large crowds or close to folks, or that social… physical distancing, that six feet plus,” Holcomb said.
The governor said he made the decision with “comfort and confidence” because Hoosiers have been limiting contact and paying close attention to better hygiene.
The move means gyms, YMCAs, fitness studios may open with restrictions, along with community pools and campgrounds.
Recreational sports practices may begin, although contact sports are prohibited. Raceways can begin competition with no spectators, Holcomb said.
Basketball, tennis, soccer and baseball courts and field may open. Gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed.
Under Stage 3, facial coverings are still recommended, as are social distancing protocols. Working at home is also recommended if possible.
Movie theaters can open at 50% capacity, according to the guidelines.
Bars and clubs will remain closed, as will most entertainment and tourism venues. Retail stores and malls are allowed 75% capacity while mall food courts are allowed 50% capacity.
Holcomb said he’ll sign the executive order on Thursday. The order will extend the prohibition of evictions and turning off utilities during the pandemic.
The governor said to “pencil in” June 14 as the start date for Stage 4 of the reopening plan. It will all depend on the trends in COVID-19 cases and data, he said.
“Stage 2 is a very important stage that got us to Stage 3,” he said. “Stage 3 will be just as important to Stage 4, and it will determine if we get to Stage 4.”
On Wednesday, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) reported 581 new cases of COVID-19 between May 8-19 and 38 new deaths between May 3-19, bringing the statewide totals to 29,274 and 1,716 respectively. Nearly 200,000 people in the state have been tested.
INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness also spoke during the briefing, saying 2020 construction work was taking advantage of reduced traffic, saving millions of dollars in the process.
Weekend traffic has increased of late, driven by improving weather and the slow reopening of the state economy.
McGuinness said the state’s 28 open rest areas are being monitored by staff and cleaned hourly with a focus on doors, handles, vending areas and fixtures. Travel brochures have been temporarily removed.
Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said reduced traffic meant there have been 22,000 fewer crashes compared to this time last year and 25 fewer fatal accidents.