INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced on Thursday the greater Indianapolis area will not lift its mask mandate nor remove capacity restrictions until health officials in Marion County call for an end to the public health order brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
During a virtual presser, Hogsett said Marion County has had a successful start to March Madness as thousands were in Indy for the NCAA Tournament.
But he added, “The threat of an uptick is not behind us.”
Some of the current capacity limits in Marion County include:
- Bar capacity is 50%.
- Indoor restaurant capacity is at 75%
- Gyms are at 50% capacity
Dr. Virginia Caine also echoed the mayor’s sentiments that COVID-19 still remained a threat. “We cannot be lulled into a false sense of security. We can see the finish line, but we’ve not yet crossed it. Now’s the time to dig deep and sprint to the finish.”
She provided data showing COVID-19 cases are down among all age groups in the county as well as deaths.
Dr. Caine also looked at the vaccination rate among Marion County residents, saying there was a higher rate among women versus men.
Mayor Hogsett says while the city is reaching goals like a lower positivity rate, Indianapolis needs more time before restrictions are lifted. He said that time is to allow more people to get vaccinated.
But in the mean time, he said people still need to wear masks, practice social distancing as well as good hygiene.
Mobile vaccine clinics
The officials also announced four mobile vaccine clinics.
- Eastern Star Church – Friday and Saturday
- Light of the World Christian Church – TBD
- Consulate of Mexico Indianapolis -TBD
- Riverside Park/Indy Parks and Recreations -TBD
State easing restrictions
Over the past year, Marion county has taken its own steps to prevent the spread of the virus, easing restrictions slower than the state.
Hogsett said on Wednesday he is consulting with Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine and other health experts.
The mayor also said he’s thrilled there are more vaccines coming to Marion County.
On April 6, a statewide mask mandate will become an advisory. That means it will be up to local officials to make decisions based on their specific community and metrics. Venue capacity, restaurant seating and social gathering restrictions will also be in their hands.
As of Thursday, Marion County remains in blue, the state’s lowest advisory level. The county’s positivity rate is just under 3 percent.
For the next two weeks, Indy will host the rest of the NCAA Tournament. Governor Holcomb said he decided to extend the mask mandate to correlate with the end of the tournament.