New COVID-19 restrictions in Marion County impact restaurants, bars, schools and more

Coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS– Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced several new restrictions for Marion County Thursday in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here is a breakdown of the new restrictions, which go into effect on Friday, July 24.

  • Masks will remain mandatory. They must be worn in a way that covers the nose and mouth.
  • Social gatherings cannot exceed 50 individuals, other than religious ceremonies. Indoor religious ceremonies can operate up to 50% capacity. Outdoor services can continue without restrictions.
  • Bars and nightclubs that do not serve food will close through at least August 12.
  • Restaurants will operate at 50% indoor capacity, and all restaurants must close for in-person dining between midnight and 5 a.m. Outdoor seating remains preferred with social distancing in place.
  • Personal services such as tattoo parlors, spas and nail and hair salons may operate by appointment only.
  • For K-12 schools, in-person instruction can not begin until August 5.
  • Gyms and fitness centers can operate at 25% capacity.
  • Entertainment, cultural and sports venues will be limited to 25% capacity. If 25% capacity means the event will exceed 250 people, the event organizer will need to obtain advanced approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.
  • At this time, no travel restriction is included in the order.
  • Recommended 14-day quarantine following travel to states or countries with high positivity rates. A list of applicable places will be available on the Marion County Public Health Department website.

When speaking about K-12 schools Hogsett said he is expecting to hold another briefing next week, “with more definitive guidance on whether and how in-person K-12 education may resume, given our current rate of infection.”

Hogsett said these restrictions are aimed at reducing the spread of the virus, particularly among young adults.

“Over the last week, our city’s positivity rate has increased by nearly 50%. Without a response, that trajectory will undo all the hard work that we’ve put in over the last four months,” he said. “Our latest data clearly shows that transmission is occurring, most often indoors, particularly when groups of people gather to socialize.

“The data also shows that, for the first time, positivity rates are skyrocketing among young adults between the ages of 18-30. Particularly when those individuals congregate in gyms, bars and other indoor venues.”

Hogsett said this increase in the positivity rate has not yet equated to an increase in hospitalizations or deaths, but it could.

“If you don’t believe that, look at what is happening in places like Florida and Texas, to see how wrong you are,” Hogsett said. “Unlike those places however, we still have an opportunity to stop this rising rate of infection and hopefully preserve many of the aspects of our daily lives that have returned in recent weeks.”

Hogsett said the actions of young adults in Marion County will be critical to moving past this.

“These policies and best practices only work when we all participate. We must do better, especially younger adults in social settings. If you are out in a crowded, public space without a mask, do better for your city.

“If your office is running face-to-face meetings without masks, do better for your city. If you want our bars and our clubs to return, do better for your city.

This announcement comes following a report that Indianapolis is one of 11 cities the White House warned must take “aggressive” action in combating the coronavirus during a private phone call Wednesday.

Positive COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and ICU admissions are on the rise in Indiana. On Thursday, the state reported 954 new cases, marking a new single-day record.

Marion County residents can request a free mask from the City here.

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