INDIANAPOLIS (WTWO/WAWV) — Gov. Eric Holcomb announced most counties in Indiana on Monday will move to phase two of a five stage road map for reopening the state, with stage five to begin by July 4 while state leaders maintain a close watch on spread of the coronavirus.
“Thanks to the discipline and actions of 6.7 million Hoosiers, we are ready to move ahead in a measured way,” Holcomb said.
According to Holcomb, stage two will lift travel restrictions across the state and social gatherings of up to 25 people will be allowed; however, those age 65 and older and those with underlying health risks will be asked to remain home as much as possible.
Also allowed in stage 2 will be the opening of retail and commercial businesses at up to 50 percent capacity.
Worship services in all 92 counties will be able to convene as of May 8; however, Holcomb noted he encouraged virtual and outdoor services to continue. Those 65 and older and those with underlying health issues will be asked to refrain from attending in-person services.
On May 11, restaurants and bars will be able to open at 50 percent capacity, with bar seating to remain closed. Also on May 11, salons and tattoo parlors will be able to open by appointment only with social distancing guidelines in place.
Holcomb said the reason phase two will begin next week is because four guided principles are moving in the right direction.
Over the past two weeks, the number of patients requiring hospitalization due to COVID-19 has continued to decline. Also, the state has retained a surge capacity at hospitals for two weeks. Testing is also available to all symptomatic Hoosiers, and contact tracing continues to expand state wide.
According to Holcomb, if health indicators remain positive, the state will move to stage 3 by May 24. At that time, those 65 and older will be able to leave the house more, and social gatherings of up to 100 people will be permitted.
On May 24, movie theaters will be able to open at 50 percent capacity, with retailers allowed to move to up to 75 percent capacity.
During stage two and stage three, Holcomb said office workers who can work from home should continue to do so.
Stage four is expected by June 14 with face coverings becoming optional and gatherings of up to 200 permitted. At that time, businesses and offices would be able to open at full capacity.
The final stage would begin July 4 as long as trends continue in the right direction.
As businesses begin to open Holcomb has encouraged a return to work.
Indiana’s commissioner for the Department of Workforce Development says not going back to work over fear of the virus could impact resources like unemployment payments.
“Generalized fear of the virus itself would likely result in benefits being denied as a work refusal,” said Fred Payne, commissioner of Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
More information is available on the state website.