Indiana in “Phase 4.5” of the Back On Track plan

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Governor Eric Holcomb declared Wednesday that Indiana is not yet ready to move on to Phase 5 of the reopening plan.

That stage had no capacity limits, something he says Indiana is not yet ready for. Holcomb said Wednesday the state is moving on to “Stage 4.5” on July 4 due to some of the volatility being seen parts of the state.

Indiana is holding steady in COVID numbers, but there has been an uptick in daily positive tests and hospitalizations. Hospital capacity remains below threatening levels.

The governor said Indiana is keeping a close watch on virus trends in neighboring states, and is “managing our way through this.”

Stage 4.5 will maintain current capacity levels, and “mostly outdoor activities” will be given the green light as transmission rates are considerably lower outdoors. For the next two weeks, gatherings will still be limited to 250 people.

Gyms and fitness centers will continue operations at their current capacity limits. Fairs and festivals can move forward with their plans.

In-facility visits will be allowed at nursing homes starting in July, some of them as early as July 4.

The following information regarding Stage 4.5 was released by the governor’s office:

Governor Eric J. Holcomb today announced the state will modify the Back On Track Indiana plan through at least July 17.

While a few restrictions will lift on July 4 in version 4.5 of the plan, most will stay in place. Elkhart County will remain fully in Stage 4 until at least July 17. Local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines.

“While most of our health indicators remain positive, our data indicates a need to be extra cautious, which is why we will pause much of our Back on Track roadmap,” Gov. Holcomb said. “I urge Hoosiers to maintain vigilance in social distancing and wearing masks so we can continue to reopen our state for business.”

Gov. Holcomb has used data to drive decisions since the state’s first case of the novel coronavirus in early March and he continues to do so as the state continues a sector-by-sector reset. The state will move to reopen while continuing to monitor and respond to these four guiding principles:

  • The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients statewide has decreased for 14 days
  • The state retains its surge capacity for critical care beds and ventilators
  • The state retains its ability to test all Hoosiers who are COVID-19 symptomatic as well as health care workers, first responders, and frontline employees
  • Health officials have systems in place to contact all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and expand contact tracing

Through at least July 17, the following restrictions will continue:

  • Social gatherings following the CDC’s social distancing guidelines will be limited to up to 250 people. This limit applies to wedding receptions, parties, and other events where people are in close physical contact for extended periods of time, particularly indoors.
  • Dining room food service may continue operations at up to 75 percent capacity as long as social distancing is observed. Bar seating in restaurants may continue operations at 50 percent capacity. Bars and nightclubs may continue operations open at 50 percent capacity as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines.
  • Cultural, entertainment and tourism sites may continue operations open at 50 percent capacity.
  • Movie theaters, bowling alleys and similar facilities may continue operations open at 50 percent capacity.
  • Amusement parks, water parks and similar facilities may continue operations open at 50 percent capacity. Reservations are encouraged to limit the number of customers at any one time.
  • Raceways may continue operations open at 50 percent grandstand capacity.

Beginning July 4, fairs, festivals and other similar outdoor events may open. Pari-mutuel horse racing and county and state fair racing may begin with 50 percent spectator capacity. Youth overnight camps may open.

K-12 school operations may begin the 2020-21 academic year on July 1. Extra-curricular, co-curricular activities may resume July 6.

Outdoor visitation is required at assisted living facilities and nursing homes beginning July 4 and indoor visitation may begin. Hospital visitations with precautions are encouraged.

Hoosiers 65 and over and those with high-risk health conditions – who are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus – should adhere to social distancing guidelines and remain cautious. Face coverings in public places are highly recommended.

Gov. Holcomb and Indiana State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box, M.D., FACOG, today announced a statewide initiative to encourage Hoosiers to wear masks to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The #MaskUpHoosiers initiative is launching with videos and photos of state government leaders, celebrities, and Hoosiers from all walks of life sharing their heartfelt reasons for wearing a mask in public, which is one of the strongest steps possible to limit the spread of COVID-19, saving lives and allowing the state to continue its phased re-opening. Additional photos and videos will be featured as the educational campaign progresses. Visit www.coronavirus.in.gov/maskuphoosiers to learn more.

To learn more about the different stages and the associated dates to get a better understanding about where we’re going as a state, click here to see the full plan: BackOnTrack.in.gov

The Governor signed an executive order implementing these changes to the Back on Track Indiana roadmap. The Governor also signed an executive order extending the public health emergency through Aug. 3. The executive orders can be found here: https://www.in.gov/gov/2384.htm

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