Shoppers trickled into some large Indiana shopping malls on Monday as they opened for the first time in more than a month under a new order from the governor easing many restrictions imposed to slow the coronavirus spread.
Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb defended his decision announced Friday allowing more manufacturers and retailers to open their doors in most of the state with the of allowing nearly all activities to resume on July 4.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dr. Woody Myers, a former state health commissioner, called the steps premature with the state still not providing enough COVID-19 infection testing.
Holcomb said he believed it was important to give residents a long-term look at the state’s reopening plan. He said the establishing stages for reopening businesses and activities in stages will depend on Indiana’s number of coronavirus illnesses not suddenly jumping and putting pressure on the hospital system.
“We’re in a position where we can accommodate that right now,” Holcomb said. “What we don’t want to do is opening it up all at once and then be rushed and then find ourselves playing catch up and dialing it back.”
Crowds in the dozens waited for mall reopenings Monday in suburban Indianapolis and South Bend. Many stores in those malls did not immediately open.
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Tammy Lubelski said she had been looking forward to returning to University Park Mall in Mishawaka but did have health concerns since she’s had brain surgery.
“Because I am at high risk, I do worry,” she told the South Bend Tribune. “And I saw a couple of people in the line not wearing masks, so that makes me worried.”