Indiana is set to enter stage four in the states Back on Track reopening plan. Governor Eric Holcomb says he will sign an executive order, allowing the state to take the step on Friday morning, two days earlier than originally planned.
This includes Marion, Lake and Cass counties which have trailed the rest of the state in reopening.
“Hoosiers have, for the most part, have been patient and vigilant. That combination allowed us to weather the storm,” said Holcomb.
The governor said hospitalization rates, ICU bed and ventilator availability and contact tracing and testing capabilities have maintained the benchmarks to allow for the next phase.
“Data looks good for now,” said Dr. Kristina Box, commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health.
In this next phase, gatherings can include groups of up to 250 people, restaurants can open to 75% capacity and stores can open to full capacity.
Stage four also allows professional business offices to fully reopen.
Bars, nightclubs, theaters, and museums remain at 50% capacity.
“All of these changes, all of this progress, is with the consideration that social distancing, physical distancing, practicing safety hygiene are in place in the plan for that particular venue,” said Holcomb.
Holcomb says the state is on track to hit stage five on July 4, but he is not willing to guess if it will be earlier than that.
“As optimistic as we are about the next 24, 48, 72 hours, 96 hours, I don’t want to predict two weeks from now.”
He says when you look around the country, you see some states trending upward in the number of positive COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Doctor Box warns Hoosiers not to get lackadaisical.
“As we move to stage four, it doesn’t really mean that we go back to the ‘normal,’ – no masks, no social distancing, no careful handwashing. All of those are still critical.