The Journal Gazette
Friday, May 22, 2020 1:00 am

State enters modified 3rd stage

Order keeps playgrounds, theaters shut down

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric Holcomb issued a new executive order Thursday officially allowing most of the state to move into the next stage of reopening the economy.

But there are some small tweaks from the earlier plan.

“We continue to remain vigilant about protecting Hoosiers' health while taking responsible steps to further open our state's economy,” he said. “Moving to stage 3 is possible because Hoosiers across the state have worked together and made sacrifices to slow the spread.”

Lake, Cass and Marion counties will remain in stage 2.

Statewide, 29,936 Hoosiers now have tested positive for COVID-19 – up 676 cases in the last day. Deaths rose by 48 to 1,764.

An additional 30 Allen County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total Thursday to 1,128 cases and 65 deaths.

Some of the changes starting today include the reopening of gyms and fitness centers with some capacity and distancing limitations; retail stores and malls can move to 75% capacity; and community pools may open following CDC guidelines.

Community tennis and basketball courts, soccer and baseball fields, YMCA programs and similar facilities may open with social gathering and social distancing guidelines in place.

Holcomb said Monday that playgrounds could open but the latest order backtracks, saying they remain closed.

The original plan also called for the opening of movie theaters at 50% capacity. But the new order keeps them closed.

There also is new language trying to clarify many questions about sports play and practices.

Noncontact sports such as baseball, softball, volleyball, tennis, golf, soccer and swimming may conduct practices, drills and conditioning but may not compete in games, meets or tournaments.

Contact sports such as football, basketball, rugby or wrestling are not permitted except for conditioning and noncontact drills.

The social gathering limitations of stage 3 – up to 100 people – must be followed.

Motorsports can also restart but without spectators.

School buildings and grounds, bars, nightclubs and overnight youth camps remain closed.

Youth summer day camps, as well as adult day service programs, can start June 1.

As the state lifts restrictions and more people return to work, visit stores or restaurants and participate in more activities, the number of COVID-19 cases is expected to increase, the governor's office said. If hospitalization numbers and other principles can't be met all or portions of the state may need to pause on moving forward or may need to return to an earlier phase of the governor's stay-at-home order.

In stage 3, Hoosiers 65 and older and those with high-risk health conditions – who are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus – should remain at home as much as possible. Face coverings in public places are recommended. Hoosiers who can work from home are encouraged to continue to do so.

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