Chesterton Tribune



Indiana theaters, bars, playgrounds reopenings start Friday

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Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Movie theaters, bars, museums and amusement parks across Indiana will be allowed to reopen Friday for the first time in nearly three months, as the governor announced Wednesday that he was moving up by two days the next stage of easing the state’s coronavirus restrictions.

A new state order will allow social gatherings of up to 250 people and retail stores and malls to operate at full capacity, Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said. Gatherings have been limited to 100 people and stores to 75% capacity for the past three weeks as such limits have been gradually lifted since early May.

Restaurants will be allowed 75% capacity in their dining rooms, while bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, bowling alleys, museums and amusement parks can open at half capacity. Casinos can resume operations starting Monday under safety plans submitted to the Indiana Gaming Commission.

Public playgrounds can reopen Friday, but festivals and parades are still prohibited.

At-Risk Hoosiers Urged to Stay Home

Under the new order those 65 and over and those with high-risk health conditions - who are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus - should remain at home as much as possible. Face coverings in public places are still recommended to protect against transmission to others and to offer protection for the wearer.

This Indiana reopening stage had been scheduled for Sunday. Officials said the earlier action was possible because of continuing declines in the number of people hospitalized for the COVID-19 virus and the availability of intensive care unit beds to treat those who are most seriously ill.

Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner, warned that precautions were still needed to stem the coronavirus spread even as most of the business and travel restrictions first imposed in March are lifted.

“It doesn’t really mean that we go back to the normal - no masks, no social distancing, no careful handwashing, alcoholing your hands,” Box said. “All of those are critical.”

Holcomb said he was still targeting July 4 as the date for when most gathering size and activity restrictions will be eliminated.

That comes even as Indiana has seen at least 128 coronavirus-related deaths during June, boosting the state’s death toll to 2,355 since the first fatality was reported in mid-March, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.

Holcomb first declared a public health emergency for the state on March 6 and followed that with a statewide stay-at-home order closing nonessential businesses beginning March 25. The stay-at-home order was lifted on May 4 as the initial easing of restrictions began.

“We can’t let up,” Holcomb said of safety precautions. “We can’t act like this virus isn’t continuing to spread across the state of Indiana, but we have the intensity at a managed level.”


Posted 6/11/2020





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