Citizens Square will be closed to the public for eight weeks beginning Monday, and Allen County is implementing "hard caps" on gatherings and ordering bars and restaurants to close at midnight as new COVID-19 cases soar, local health and government officials said Tuesday.
The actions are needed because county cases, as well as Indiana's, now are rising at "exponential" levels, Dr. Matthew Sutter, county health commissioner, said during a news conference at Citizens Square.
That means new cases are doubling every seven days, putting the county as of today in the red zone, the most serious level, he said, prompting worries hospitals will be overwhelmed.
At the beginning of October, the county's daily case count was in the 40s, Sutter said. Now, he said, it's been "over 400."
At that rate, daily cases could reach more 4,000 in four weeks, Sutter said.
"We need to bend the curve," he said.
Sutter added nearby counties will likely be issuing their own orders, which he expects to be substantially similar.
"Several hundred" city workers who work at Citizens Square will be asked to work from home, Mayor Tom Henry told The Journal Gazette. City parks department offices, youth and community centers will be closed, but public safety employees will not be affected and trash and leaf collections will continue, he said.
Animal Care & Control will be open with restrictions.
Indoor capacity at bars and restaurants will be limited to 50%, with bar seating closed.
Gyms will face the same capacity limits, but unlike with previous limits, personal-care salons will not be affected. Sutter said that was because masks there have been shown to be effective at preventing spread at such establishments.