On to Stage 5

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announces that the state will move on to Stage 5 of the Back on Track plan, which allows restaurants and gyms to open at 100% capacity.

INDIANAPOLIS — Open for business.

After nearly three months in a holding pattern at Stage 4.5 of Indiana’s Back on Track plan the state moved forward to Stage 5, on Sept. 26, although face masks will still be mandatory.

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the decision in his weekly news conference, saying the state’s numbers continue to track in the right direction.

“We are moving in the right direction, I want to take 10 seconds to say thank you, because we don’t do this without adjusting our daily routine,” Holcomb said. “We have been very methodical about this and data driven that is how we will continue to move forward.”

On Sept. 23 the state recorded 728 cases and 10 deaths, with a seven-day positivity rate holding around 4% down from a 6% and higher seven-day positivity rate in July. Sept. 23’s positivity rate was 3.8%.

“While our numbers are tracking in the right direction, it is because of everyone wearing a mask and doing their part,” Holcomb said.

Dr. Kris Box, Indiana State Health Commissioner echoed those sentiments saying good hygiene practices and wearing face masks have helped the state get to where they are today.

“This is what has helped us get to Stage 5 with some guardrails in place,” Box said.

The change allows for restaurants, bars and nightclubs to open at full capacity with social distancing standards still in place. Gyms, fitness centers and workout facilities may also operate at full capacity along with entertainment facilities, cultural events and tourism sites.

In doing so Holcomb said we really have to underscore how important it is for residents and businesses to continue to make those adjustments and operate in a safe matter.

“It has a huge impact,” he said.

In Stage 5 size limits are removed for gatherings and meetings. Organizers of events that will include more than 500 people must submit a written plan to the local health department.

Hoosiers are also asked to continue to wash their hands and to not go to work or school or in public places if they feel sick.

In moving forward, Holcomb said the state will continue to monitor the data and if there is a need to take a step back at some point that will definitely be looked at.

“We aren’t out of the woods, the numbers can spike quickly,” Box warned.

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