Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday that the state will move to Stage 5 of its reopening plan Saturday, which allows restaurants to operate at full capacity.
Bar sections in restaurants are also allowed full capacity, but customers must be seated. The same is true for regular bars and nightclubs. Gyms and fitness centers may resume normal operations, as well.
Face masks and social distancing are still mandatory, but size limitations will be removed for social gatherings. Organizers of events that include more than 500 must submit a written plan to their local health department.
Since July 4, Indiana has operated under Stage 4.5, which allowed 75 percent capacity in dining rooms, 50 percent capacity at bar sections in restaurants, and 50 percent capacity at bars and nightclubs.
“These better hygiene practices during a pandemic, they’re always important, but even now, they’re highlighted and heightened in terms of their importance,” Holcomb said during Wednesday’s press conference. “We have to be ever mindful of that if we want to continue to really separate ourselves in terms of comparing to others around not just the country, but around the world. We have been very steady Eddy, very methodical about this, very data driven and that’s how we’ll continue to be.”
Holcomb said that in July, the state’s seven-day positivity rate hovered between 6 to 6.5 percent. Now, it’s lowered to roughly 4 percent. The state is testing about 15,000 people per day.
The state uses a color-coded map to track the spread of COVID through cases per capita and positivity rate. Holcomb said most counties are blue, which is the lowest amount of spread.
While the Hoosier State is moving forward, other parts of the country are just arriving at bringing indoor dining back. New York City isn’t allowing indoor dining until September 30. Under California’s color-coded tier system, San Francisco is currently allowed to have indoor dining, but the city is choosing to wait until at least after the end of September. Los Angeles, still classified as widespread, is still relegated to outdoor dining and off-premises.