INDIANAPOLIS — There were several developments in the coronavirus pandemic that you may have missed overnight.
Here’s a look:
5 million cases. Johns Hopkins University said worldwide coronavirus cases exceeded 5 million. Data from early Thursday morning showed 5,011,467 reported total cases and 328,368 reported deaths globally.
The U.S. reported 1,551,853 cases and 93,439 deaths as states work to ease restrictions during the pandemic.
Stage 3 starting early in Indiana. For most of Indiana, Stage 3 of the governor’s Back on Track reopening plan will start on Friday, May 22–days earlier than expected. The exceptions are Marion, Lake and Cass counties, which are expected to enter Stage 3 on June 1.
Gov. Eric Holcomb said Hoosiers “earned the ability” to accelerate the reopening plan. He’ll sign the executive order Thursday. Under Stage 3, facial coverings are still recommended, as are social distancing protocols. Working at home is also recommended if possible.
The move means gyms, YMCAs, fitness studios may open with restrictions, along with community pools and campgrounds.
Recreational sports practices may begin, although contact sports are prohibited. Raceways can begin competition with no spectators. Basketball, tennis, soccer and baseball courts and fields may open.
Gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed. Holcomb is targeting June 14 for the start of Stage 4, adding that the date is tentative and depends on how Stage 3 goes.
Easing restrictions in Marion County. During our IN Focus Town Hall Wednesday night, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett hinted that Marion County could ease restrictions on salons and places of worship before the current June 1st timeline.
Hogsett said it all depends on the data trends regarding COVD-19 cases.
“I am cautiously optimistic we will have more good news for the people of Indianapolis. A lot of it is dependent on the data. If it does not continue to go, I’m optimistic we’ll have good news for the people of Indianapolis next week,” Hogsett said Wednesday night.
Under the current plan, Marion County salons and other personal services are targeted for June 1 reopening. Religious services are limited to 25 people. Restaurants can reopen for outdoor seating beginning Friday.
Back to the gym. Gyms can reopen as part of the Stage 3 plan.
Facilities will need to maintain social distancing and limit their capacities. Class-based fitness centers believe they have an advantage over traditional gyms because they can space out their members and reduce class sizes easier.
“We can clean it quickly in between each and every use,” said Jake Schreiner, studio manager at Class UFC Gym Noble West in Noblesville. “Unlike a big box gym, there is no way to rearrange certain machines to keep them far from each other. You might have to shut down certain machines altogether.”
Schreiner has been doing free virtual classes from his gym to keep their members in shape. He is happy to see them come back, however, they are letting members keep their accounts frozen until they feel safe enough to return.
A May unlike any other in Speedway. Traditionally, Speedway is buzzing this time of year in anticipation of the Indianapolis 500. But right now, the track is quiet and Main Street is a ghost town.
The Indianapolis 500 was originally scheduled for this Sunday, May 24, but was postponed until August 23 due to COVID-19. Friday would typically mark Carb Day.
“You couldn’t have convinced me this was gonna happen five months ago,” said Marcia Huff, owner of Barbecue and Bourbon on Main.
It’s the peak of the busiest time of the year for their restaurant, yet business is down 90%. The fans they anticipate seeing every year from all over the world aren’t here.
“It’s depressing,” Huff said. “You wait all year long and get revved up for this, and what should be a hustle-bustle wonderful time of year for us now is just completely different. Everything is different about it.”