Indiana was set to lift nearly all coronavirus restrictions this weekend, but as fresh outbreaks have prompted some states to backtrack on their reopening plans, the state will not be moving to phase five as planned, the governor announced.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday that the state will instead plan on moving to phase 4.5 from July 4 through July 17, lifting only some restrictions over the next two weeks. The governor’s initial reopening plan called for the total removal beginning Saturday of the current 250-person limit on social gatherings and allowing restaurants, bars, nightclubs and recreation venues to operate at full capacity.
Citing an increase in hospitalizations over the last week and a "slight" uptick in the state's positivity rate, Holcomb said things will largely stay the same for the next two weeks as phase 4.5 begins, pausing any capacity increase for bars, restaurants and entertainment venues. The state will also continue its current 250-person limit on social gatherings.
"We just have to accept the fact, more than recognize it, but accept that again this virus is on the prowl and it's moving even within our borders," Holcomb said.
Since June 12, restaurants have been allowed 75% capacity in their dining rooms, while bars, nightclubs, bowling alleys, museums and amusement parks have been open at half capacity.
But outbreaks in Florida, Arizona, Texas and California have already caused those states to shut down bars and beaches and curb restaurant capacity.
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"The volatility that we see, even in some areas of our own state, but especially around the country and especially around our own borders is of some concern and that's what giving us push pause," Holcomb said.
The Indiana plan continues urging people to wear masks and follow other social-distancing rules.
Indiana officials reported 371 new cases of coronavirus Wednesday, along with eight additional deaths statewide.
According to the latest figures released by the Indiana State Department of Health, a total of 45,952 residents have now contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began. As of Wednesday, the death toll statewide stood at 2,456.
An additional 194 deaths are being classified as “probable” COVID-19-related deaths.
In the last 24 hours, 5,555 tests were returned by labs across the state, bringing the state’s total number of tests to 489,716.
As of Wednesday, nearly 83% of ventilators and more than 39% of intensive care unit beds statewide remained available.