Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett says the city of Indianapolis and Marion County will implement some of the “Stage 4.5” reopening plan announced this week by Governor Eric Holcomb. Additionally, the mayor has announced Marion County residents will be required to wear masks when out in public.
The mask requirement, along with the move to Stage 4.5, will go into effect July 9. The mayor says the requirement will be implemented in two major categories.
Anyone outside of their home in an indoor space will be required to wear a mask, though the masks can be removed if the person is alone in their office or while eating at a restaurant. Additionally, masks will be required of a person is outdoors but unable to socially distance.
The mask order excludes children under the age of 3, as well as anyone with a medical condition that prevents the use of a mask.
“There is a growing consensus that wearing face coverings and practicing smart social distancing will be the key to allowing our city to continue edging forward in the weeks and months ahead,” said Hogsett. “I know that many will not agree with this policy. I know many more will feel inconvenienced by it. This is a major change to what normal means here in Indianapolis and I sympathize with those who feel overwhelmed by the transformation of our daily lives. But I’ll be honest. I don’t have sympathy for those who may argue in the coming days that this simple, science-driven policy is an unjust burden.”
The mayor cited the city’s history of requiring of masks during the flu pandemic of 1918. He said after the mask requirement was implemented, Indianapolis had a death rate of 0.3%, among the lowest in the country.
Beginning July 9, the city and county will partially move to Stage 4.5 of the governor’s Back on Track Indiana plan. The mayor says bars, move theaters, cultural and entertainment venues will remain at 50% capacity. Restaurants will remain at 75% capacity. Most outdoor activities will be permissible, according to Hogsett.
The local health order will have a few differences from the governor’s plan. The mayor says indoor areas of assisted living and nursing home facilities will remain closed to visitors in Marion County. Overnight camps will also remain closed.
Hogsett says organizers any public event anticipating attendance of more than 1,000 people must submit a public health event plan and receive approval from the Marion County Public Health Department.
Additionally, the mayor says he will sign executive orders to extend temporary street closures on Broad Ripple Avenue, Mass Ave and Georgia Street through July 19 to accommodate restaurants who have added more outdoor seating.
Mayor Joe Hogsett explained the mask requirement during a virtual news conference Thursday.