Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett has announced new restrictions for the city and Marion County as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Among the changes, the mayor has ordered capacity be reduced for bars, restaurants and organized gatherings, as well as a requirement for schools to return to virtual instruction by the end of the month.
Hogsett says the restrictions will go into effect Sunday night at midnight. The changes to the public health order include:
- Indoor capacity reduced to 25% for bars and entertainment venues. Outdoor capacity will remain at 100%
- Indoor capacity remains at 50% for restaurants. Outdoor capacity remains at 100%
- Self-serve buffets and salad bars, as well as karaoke, are banned.
- Maximum party size at tables in restaurants, bars and clubs will be reduced to six.
- The midnight closure requirement previously applied to bars, restaurants and clubs will be expended to all non-essential hospitality and entertainment businesses.
- Special or seasonal events, including concerts, movie screenings, fairs, festivals, weddings, wedding receptions, conventions and sporting events are limited to 25% capacity.
- Social gatherings of more than 25 people are prohibited.
- Religious services remain limited to 75% indoor capacity.
- Libraries, funeral homes, swimming pools, and shopping mall food courts are reduced to 50% indoor capacity.
- Cultural venues, music venues, museums, and other non-essential entertainment businesses are reduced to 25% capacity.
- Gyms and fitness studios, including locker rooms, are reduced to 25% indoor capacity.
- A person must have a negative COVID test within 72 hours of visiting a long-term care facility.
The mayor noted special or seasonal events could receive exceptions to allow more than 50 people if organizers receive an approved safety plan from the Marion County Public Health Department.
MCPDH Director Dr. Virginia Caine says, no later than November 30, all K-12 schools will be required to return to virtual instruction. Schools that have the ability to go virtual prior to the deadline are being encouraged to do so.
“I know it may be a hardship for some of you; some schools may have had no cases whatsoever,” said Caine. “But it’s to the point now we’re seeing significant spread in our schools now that in order to safeguard everyone, we’re asking that all schools be required to return to virtual instruction no later than November 30th.”
Additionally, all school extracurricular activities and sporting events at schools will only be allowed to have participants, parents or guardians, and support personnel in attendance beginning November 30.
The order for schools is currently scheduled to end January 15.
The mayor also urged residents to consider scaling back their Thanksgiving gatherings in light of the pandemic.
“Consider connecting with elder family members or extended family through video chat or through phone calls,” said Hogsett. “If weather allows, eat outside. Don’t travel if you don’t have to leave the home. And if you do travel to family gatherings, please quarantine yourself upon your return. That will help stop the spread of the virus.”
Hogsett also once again called on Congress to pass additional relief to residents, businesses and local government.
“The CARES Act money from March was transformative, but it’s now gone, including nearly $12 million in our HELP grants that are being processed currently for hundreds of bars and restaurants across our city,” said Hogsett. “So I want to reiterate my call for those in Washington D.C. to step up to the plate and do what needs to be done to help with this surge in cases and the destructive effect it is having on our city’s small businesses.”
Hogsett once again called on Congress to pass additional relief to residents, businesses and local governments.