INDIANAPOLIS – “Indianapolis is coming back.”
Mayor Joe Hogsett stood outside Livery downtown and said, amid the stay-at-home orders and challenging times, the city was ready to reopen and welcome visitors once more.
Hogsett said it won’t be business as usual, but it will be “uniquely Indianapolis.”
“After a period of frustration, a period of mourning, a period of learning, Indianapolis is coming back,” Hogsett said.
The mayor invited people to return to the state’s capital city. He noted that hotel occupancy would typically be at 70% right now, while it’s currently at 7%.
“We’re back in business. Indianapolis is open again,” Hogsett said.
Hogsett said Marion County has steadied the rate of infection. He expressed concerns about the surge in COVID-19 cases seen in several states.
Businesses have lost customers and tourists have stayed home during the pandemic. The mayor encouraged Hoosiers to continue social distancing and wearing masks.
“They have been asked to stay at home,” Hogsett said of Hoosiers. “And now we are welcoming them back to our city.”
The pandemic has battered the tourism industry. Visit Indy estimated that 50% of tourism workers are unemployed, representing about 40,000 households.
Hogsett announced a $1 million regional and statewide awareness campaign. From now through Labor Day, the “You’ve Earned It” campaign would encourage people to take advantage of the reopened economy.
The mayor also encouraged visitors to wear masks and engage in social distancing to protect businesses and other guests.
“It isn’t enough to support the restaurant, cultural venues, and small businesses,” Hogsett said. “We also have a personal obligation to enjoy those experiences in a way that protects those around us.”
As for a citywide mask requirement, Hogsett deferred to Gov. Eric Holcomb, who was set to give an update on the statewide response to COVID-19 during his weekly briefing.