INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis joined the rest of the state in Stage Four of Indiana’s reopening plan Friday.
The capital city held back one week due to the number of COVID-19 cases in the area.
At the Indianapolis Zoo, the animals are the same but some things are different. Any openings in the city this weekend are going to require a new normal.
“It was really fun seeing the animals all again since we haven’t been here in so long,” said Aynsley Kuckewich.
The Kuckewich family is finally breaking their COVID-19 quarantine to enjoy the zoo. It’s been a long time coming so they wanted to be there on the very first day it opened back up.
“Because I heard that they had new stuff coming in so that made me like really want to come back to see it all,” said Marleyna Kuckewich.
“We saw the dolphins, we got to see the everything in the forest,” explained their mother, Nicole Kuckewich. “And we got to see the new elephant enclosure which was super awesome.”
Overall, this family said their experience felt safe and sanitary.
“We also have a lot of sanitizing stations, hand sanitizer for people,” said Indianapolis Zoo PR Specialist Melanie Laurendine.
Not everyone wore masks at the zoo opening Friday, but many did.
“While we recommend that for guests, they are not required,” said Laurendine.
The zoo is just one of several new openings happening this weekend. Bars and nightclubs can operate at 50%, and more people can eat out at restaurants with an increased capacity of 75%.
“The need for supporting local businesses has never been greater,” said Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association President & CEO Patrick Tamm.
This stage of reopening not only allows people to get out of the house to enjoy themselves but it also brings many back to work.
“You have close to 80,000 people in Marion county alone that rely on tourism for a job,” said Tamm.
In order for things to continue operating, Tamm said this reopening process needs to be a partnership. Employers and employees are taking precautions and he hopes the public does too.
“If I’m not feeling well, I shouldn’t be going out; if I have underlying health conditions, I probably shouldn’t be going out,” explained Tamm.
“We would much rather you stay home, get healthy and then come and see us when you are feeling better,” added Laurendine.
If you are interested in participating in any of the openings scheduled in Stage Four, you’re encouraged to check company websites to make sure they are opening. Just because something is allowed to open, doesn’t mean owners will.
As for the Indianapolis Zoo, you are required to sign up for a time to visit. You can do so on its website.