Indiana residents will see new coronavirus restrictions put into place on Sunday after the state reported record-high numbers of hospitalizations and new coronavirus cases on Wednesday.
Hoosiers will have four days with more relaxed restrictions of Stage Five of the state’s reopening plan, with Gov. Eric Holcomb saying that the state will no longer be able to have those eased rules in place because of the surge in cases.
The state hospital census indicates that 2,544 patients are currently hospitalized with either coronavirus or coronavirus-like illnesses, a record high that is nearly three times higher than the number of hospitalized patients on Oct. 1 in the state.
The state’s new restrictions go into effect on Nov. 15. Nearly every county in the state will be required to keep gathering sizes limited to 50 people, and for counties particularly hard-hit by the virus, the number will be dropped to 25.
With thousands of residents being diagnosed with the disease on a daily basis, Hoosiers are hopeful that the new restrictions will allow them to get back to some semblance of normal sooner rather than later.
“If everybody does what they need to do for a few weeks or a month, we’ll be able to open soon and everything can go back to normal,” Whiting resident Janet Brezene said.
Some business owners in the state maintain that hope as well, but have also seen residents sidestep other mandates, including facial covering requirements, and they’re uncertain whether the new mitigations go far enough to stop the spread of the virus.
“We have a mask mandate, and a lot of people don’t want to follow that,” one bar owner in Whiting said.
Holcomb and other state officials say that local governments will have the freedom to place more restrictions on bars and restaurants if they choose to, but social distancing guidance, capacity limits and mask mandates are as far as the state is choosing to go at this time.
Even so, Holcomb is hopeful that the new mandates will be a sorely needed wake-up call for those who have potentially “let their guards down” in regards to the virus.
“Too many of us here and around the country have let our guards down and either assumed we won’t get it, or if we do, so be it and we’ll get through it,” he said. “Too many have said we’ll just ride it out, and that brings us to where we are now.”