Governor Eric Holcomb Declares Indiana Will Remain in Reopening Phase 4.5
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb began his weekly press conference Wednesday afternoon by announcing the state would remain in the current phase of reopening for at least the next two weeks.
The state was originally set to move into the final phase of reopening (Phase 5) on July 4th, however during his address on Wednesday, July 1st, the Governor announced he was modifying the reopening plan, creating a Phase 4.5 that left all the provisions of Phase 4 in place, but slightly loosened capacity restrictions for outside events noting the number of firework shows and parades planned throughout state heading into the 4th of July weekend.
Wednesday's announcement the state would remain in this modified phase means:
- Restaurant dining rooms will remain at 75% capacity.
- Bars, clubs, and entertainment venues will remain at 50% capacity.
- Government offices, manufacturing/Industrial business, office spaces, retail outlets, gyms, and personal services will continue to be allowed to operate at 100% capacity with social distancing guidelines and other safety measures, including proper sanitation procedures, in place.
Another provision of Phase 4 and 4.5 was the number of people allowed at indoor gatherings. Per the plan, gatherings of 250 people or less are allowed as long as social distancing guidelines can be met. However, the Governor did announce a slight change in the executive order saying that if an event expects more than 250 attendees, they must first "develop and submit to the local health department a written plan outlining the steps being taken to mitigate against COVID-19." The modification goes into effect July 23rd and "also applies to seasonal or special events such as fairs, festivals, parades, graduations, outdoor events, outdoor movies (other than drive-ins), family reunions, concerts, or weddings." Holcomb noted adjustments that were made in advance of his appearance in Evansville last Friday during a luncheon with the Chamber of Commerce.
As she has since the Governor began hosting regular press conferences after the pandemic made its way into the state, Dr. Kristina Box, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Health, provided an update on the number of cases and hospitalizations the state has seen over the past week. According to Dr. Box, the number of cases across the state have gone up for the second week in a row, with over 4,300 being reported in the past week alone. Box noted that was an increase of over 1,300 compared to the same seven-day period a month ago.
Dr. Box also stated the state has run into a "supply and demand" issue that has caused a slight delay in testing results, similar to what they ran into in the early stages of the pandemic, but are working to correct those, and are moving forward with the opening of 11 new testing sites across the state this week. She continued by saying the Department of Health expects to see another surge of cases this fall "in tandem with flu season."
When speaking on the number of hospitalizations, Box said the numbers had overall remained steady compared to last week based of information gathered by Regenstreif Institute using data "derived from the Indiana Health Information Exchange," however the overall number of admission has risen slightly over the past month.
Finally, as has been the case with each press conference, the Governor took questions from media outlets around the state through video conferencing technology and was asked if he was considering a statewide mask mandate like other states have enacted. The Governor noted that many communities were putting their own policies in place, including Evansville, and that his administration was not looking at "the one size fits all approach right now," but wouldn't "rule it out long term."
You can watch the Governor's entire press conference in the video below from his Facebook page.
[Source: Governor Eric Holcomb on Facebook]