INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana won’t end its coronavirus restrictions Saturday after all.
Indiana will leave capacity limits at indoor gathering places unchanged for at least two more weeks.
After a steady decline in hospitalizations, Indiana’s hospital count has risen more than 10-percent in four days. The rate of new cases is rising too. And Governor Holcomb says, “We pay attention to what’s happening in other states.” With Florida, Texas, California and other states seeing their highest virus numbers yet, Holcomb says it’s advisable to hold off loosening restrictions.
Restaurants are limited to three-quarters capacity, while bars, bowling alleys, theaters, nightclubs, casinos and museums have been capped at half capacity since they were allowed to reopen three weeks ago. State health commissioner Kristina Box says those are the places where capacity limits are most important. She says the virus spreads 19 times more easily indoors than outdoors.
The state will lift a ban as scheduled on outdoor events like fairs and festivals, horse racing, and youth camps. But Box says a midway operator’s announcement Tuesday of a five-week “summer carnival” at the State Fairgrounds starting July 31 “is still under discussion.”
The state is also launching a social-media campaign to encourage you to wear a mask. Holcomb and Box both appear in a Facebook video reminding people that masks demonstrate your concern for protecting others. Holcomb says it’s beyond dispute that it saves lives. The campaign, with the hashtag #MaskUpHoosiers, invites people to download a mask-up poster, and upload their own selfie photos and videos.
While Holcomb says he’s “recommending in the strongest terms possible” that people wear masks, he’s stopping short of requiring it, though he says local mask requirements, like one announced Tuesday in Elkhart County, have his full support. Box says mask use is increasing, and says making it a requirement could make some people more stubborn about not doing it.
The state is also dropping its longstanding refusal to release infection numbers for individual nursing homes. Family and Social Services chief medical officer Dan Rusyniak says Indiana’s nursing home associations and the A-A-R-P both supported releasing more detailed data. He says it’ll take a while to gather and release preliminary data, with an interactive dashboard to follow two-to-four weeks after that.