Marion County leaders push for 50% vaccination rate by July 4; Mask mandate could end Monday


INDIANAPOLIS — Marion County leaders provided an update on the COVID-19 pandemic Wednesday afternoon.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said this season, we’ll see the biggest transition to pre-pandemic conditions. The goal is to have 50% of all Marion County residents vaccinated by July 4.

Currently, more than a third of Marion County residents are vaccinated.

“Candidly,” he said, “That number is still too low.”

Hogsett noted that access to vaccines and preventing vaccine hesitancy are top priorities.

A vaccine clinic will be held at Arsenal Tech High School on June 12, and another will be held at Warren Central High School on June 19. These clinics will provide the Pfizer vaccine for Hoosiers 12-17 years old to help stop the formation of variants in young people.

This weekend, a hotline will be available for non-English speakers. Marion County residents can call 317-221-2100 to speak with volunteers who have fluency across nine different languages, including Arabic, Burmese, Spanish, Chin and Swahili. Saturday’s event will last from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“I can’t encourage enough coming forward and getting the vaccine so Marion County can return to a full sense of normalcy,” said Hogsett.

Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine said a new public health order will be submitted to the City-County Council on June 7. That recommendation will include ending the mask mandate for those who are fully vaccinated, following CDC guidance.

Caine announced a few new points of the recommendation Wednesday:

  • Public pools can open with 100% capacity. She said the CDC has not seen any transmission of COVID-19 by water.
  • Golf courses will be able to increase their capacities to 75%.
  • Dance studios and summer camps can open but should encourage vaccinations, continue wearing masks, socially distance and try to eat meals outdoors.
  • Summer schools should continue to keep three feet of social distancing.

Here are several other capacity limits, announced previously, which will be included in the June 7 order:

  • Religious services will be at 100% capacity
  • Entertainment venues reach 75% capacity
  • Indoor sporting at 50% capacity
  • Indoor services like bars and restaurants go to 75% capacity
  • Large gatherings go from 50 to 500 people
  • Personal services (like nail and beauty salons) no longer need to be appointment only

That order will go into effect after it’s passed by the City-County Council, which is expected to happen Monday night.

If Marion County reaches its goal of 50% resident vaccination by July 4, a recommendation will be submitted to the City-County Council to fully reopen the community.

Additionally, Lucas Oil Stadium is the only remaining NFL stadium not cleared to host events at 100% capacity. Caine said she hopes that won’t be the case once the season starts, but it depends on vaccination rates.

As for the Indy 500, Caine said mask-wearing wasn’t as prevalent as she’d hoped, but she believes the capacity limit and vaccination efforts helped limit spread.

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