Hamilton County announces tighter restrictions in new public health order

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NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — Hamilton County issued a public health order to complement Indiana’s existing orders, according to a release from the county health department.

“The Governor’s orders identify minimum levels for high exposure settings like social gatherings or events,” said Dr. Charles Harris, Health Officer for the Hamilton County Health Department. “This order establishes stricter limits for our county based on the state’s color-coding metrics for each county.” 

Harris said because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the recent surge of new cases and related hospitalizations in Hamilton County, officials issued the new health order to complement Governor Holcomb’s executive order issued on November 13.

Hamilton County currently falls under ORANGE on the state’s color-coding metrics. The county metrics map is updated every Wednesday and can be viewed at Coronavirus.In.Gov.

The Hamilton County Health Department said the following local restrictions will take effect at midnight on Wednesday, November 25. 

If Hamilton County is under ORANGE (moderate to high transmission level): 

  • The Hamilton County Health Department will not approve any safety plans for social gatherings of more than 250 people. 
  • Organizers of social gatherings and events at venues with multiple, clearly separate areas, such as banquet rooms, conference rooms, or multiple sports fields, must submit a safety plan for each separate area up to a maximum of 250 individuals per gathering or event. 
  • Attendance at community recreational sports leagues and tournaments will be restricted to 250 people (including participants, personnel, and spectators)  

If Hamilton County is under RED (very high transmission level): 

  • The Hamilton County Health Department will not approve any safety plans for social gatherings of more than 100 people.  
  • Organizers of social gatherings and events at venues with multiple, clearly separate areas, such as banquet rooms, conference rooms, or multiple sports fields, must submit a safety plan for each separate area up to a maximum of 100 individuals per gathering or event. (In addition, the venue shall ensure attendees at separate social gatherings do not commingle and that attendees at each gathering have separate designated restroom facilities. The venue must also ensure six feet of social distancing between tables as well as between individuals or household units sitting at the same table. The organizer or host of a social gathering must also maintain a list of event attendees and their phone numbers for up to 21 days following the social gathering for contact tracing purposes.)  
  • Attendance at community recreational sports leagues and tournaments will be restricted to 100 people (including participants, personnel, and spectators). (In addition, the use of electronic ticketing methods is strongly recommended to aid in managing capacity, identifying patron seating location, and contact tracing. The organizer or host of a community recreational sports league or tournament must also maintain a list of event attendees and their phone numbers for up to 21 days following the social gathering for contact tracing purposes.)  
  • Restaurants, bars, taverns, nightclubs and other establishments providing in-person food and drink service will only be allowed to seat customers at tables and bar seating will be closed, must limit capacity to 50% of indoor capacity, must be closed and cleared of customers between the hours of 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. to perform enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols. (In addition, table seating must be limited to six people per table and tables must be spaced at least six feet away from one another. Also, self-service food stations [buffets, salad bars, etc.] will be banned unless a staff member serves patrons. Finally, outdoor tent seating will only be permitted if the tent has at least two open-air sides for ventilation.) 
  • Gyms, exercise, and fitness centers (including yoga studios, dance studios, karate studios, martial arts studios, and other similar fitness centers) must limit capacity to 50%. 
  • Cultural, entertainment, and tourism sites (including museums, music venues, auction venues, flea market, and parks) must limit capacity to 50%. 
  • All other non-essential entertainment businesses (including movie theaters, bowling alleys, trampoline parks, boating and marina facilities, and rock wall climbing facilities) must limit capacity to 50%.  
  • Personal service businesses (including salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas, microblading and tattoo parlors) may remain by appointment. Face coverings may be removed for beard trimming or as required to complete the service. 
  • In addition, K-12 schools will be allowed to manage and implement their own plans for maintaining education services, so long as they utilize effective and appropriate measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. 

The health department said residents of Hamilton County are also strongly encouraged to quarantine for 14 days after traveling to or from another country, state, or county. 

Residents are asked to wear a mask outside of the home and to maintain at least six feet of social distance while out in public.

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