Hoosiers will soon be able to patron businesses, possibly beginning later this month, in a plan revealed May 1 by Gov. Eric Holcomb.
“Across Indiana, we have witnessed a spirit of cooperation and caring for others that has touched my heart,” Holcomb said. “May this spirit of appreciation for one another carry on long after the scourge of COVID-19 is behind us … Hoosiers have done this together and together we will come out a stronger Indiana.”
The state has used data to drive decisions to protect the public since Indiana’s first case of the novel coronavirus was discovered in early March. Holcomb said he and other state leaders will continue reviewing data as officials contemplate a sector-by-sector reset.
The state suggests a gradual reopening while continuing to monitor and respond to the following guidelines:
- 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
State officials expect as restrictions ease on public interaction, COVID-19 cases will increase. If state officials believe its guidelines cannot be met, “all or portions of the state may need to pause on moving forward or (Indiana) may return to an earlier phase of the governor’s stay-at-home order.”
Back on Track Indiana has five stages.
Beginning Monday, May 4, nearly all of Indiana will move to stage 2, which is a limited reopening of businesses and social gatherings of up to 25 people except for Marion and Lake counties, which is scheduled for May 11 and May 18 for Cass County. Local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines, the state said.
In stage 2 to protect the most vulnerable to COVID-19, Hoosiers 65 and over and those with high-risk health conditions – who are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus – should remain at home, the state said.
Essential travel restrictions will be lifted, and social gatherings of up to 25 people will be permitted following the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, the state said.
The state said the remaining manufacturers, industrial and other infrastructure operations that had not been considered essential may open. However, Hoosiers who can work from home are encouraged to continue to do so.
Retail and commercial businesses may open at 50% capacity, the state said. Examples include apparel, furniture, jewelry and liquor stores that have been operating as curbside or delivery only. Shopping malls can open at 50% capacity with indoor common areas restricted to 25% capacity.
Restaurants and bars that serve food may open May 11 at 50% capacity, but bar seating will remain closed. Personal services including hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlors also may open on May 11 by appointment only and must follow social distancing guidelines.
The state said if health indicators remain positive, Indiana will move to stage 3, which further eases public interaction restrictions.