TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)— There are nine active blue colored counties on the metrics map signifying the lowest COVID-19 advisories. Locally, one county currently is blue and another could reach that mark as soon as next week.
Sullivan County has some of the lowest restrictions related to coronavirus in Indiana, meaning there the capacity limit is 250 people as long as social distancing and mask protocols are in place.
“We’re still in this, and dealing with it and everything. Being a blue county doesn’t mean we are out of the woods yet. It just means we can be a little less restrictive,” Sullivan County Health Department Administrator Ryan Irish said.
Irish believes that the county changing to a more restrictive guideline color is still possible.
Even with no capacity limits in bars and restaurants in blue counties, Acorn Grill says they will only operate at a maximum of 50 percent capacity.
“Our biggest area of concern is guests and our community safety. I should say our community in general, even if they aren’t guests. Our team members safety. Obviously putting restrictions on a business is a concern, but we will adapt,” Brandon Knoepfle, owner of Acorn Grill said.
According to the Indiana Department of Health, Vigo County is on it’s way to becoming blue. Their health map reports 87 weekly cases per 100 thousand people.
Ashlee Stewart, Health Educator of the Vigo County Health Department, says while this is a huge milestone, more work still needs to be done to maintain the county blue.
“We need to continue to do what is needed to be done in order to keep this at blue. As soon as people start taking off their masks, we’ll just see another surge happen more than likely,” Stewart said.
Under blue county guidelines, gatherings over 250 people will need approval of local health departments.
“We really don’t want to see more than that for awhile, we’ll need to be in blue for awhile before anything changes. We are still going to see guidelines,” Stewart said.
Irish tells me with warmer weather approaching he has already received calls about potential gatherings in Sullivan County for the summer.
“We can’t guarantee anything. We have a long way to go,” Irish said.