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Gov. Holcomb announces changes for restaurants; vaccinations to soon be available to Hoosiers 16+

The state public health emergency will be renewed for another 30 days, beginning April 1.

INDIANAPOLIS — In an address to the state Tuesday, Governor Eric Holcomb announced that COVID-19 vaccinations will be open to all Hoosiers ages 16 and older on March 31. 

This is in anticipation that the state will receive a large increase in the amount of coronavirus vaccine, as outlined by the federal government. 

Holcomb said additional mass vaccination clinics will be scheduled for April, and the state will also implement a large employer vaccination program to make getting vaccinated more convenient for Hoosiers.  

The state public health emergency will be renewed for another 30 days, beginning April 1. Then, starting April 6, decisions about venue capacity and social gatherings will be made by local officials. 

The statewide mask mandate will become an advisory on April 6, but face coverings will remain mandatory in all state buildings and facilities and in all vaccination and COVID-19 testing sites until further notice.

“When I visit my favorite restaurant or conduct a public event, I will continue to wear a mask,” Gov. Holcomb said. “It is the right thing to do. Hoosiers who take these recommended precautions will help us get to what I hope is the tail end of this pandemic.”

“You just don’t know. One day you’re busy, one day you’re not,” said Angela Stergiopoulos, owner of Indy's Greek Islands Restaurant. 

That’s what the past year has been like for Stergiopoulos, living with uncertainty, not knowing what tomorrow would bring. 

That’s why Stergiopoulos tuned in Wednesday to hear Holcomb announce what local businesses can expect starting April 6. 

“Customers in restaurants, bars and nightclubs will no longer be required to be seated. Six feet of spacing between tables and other seating will still be recommended,” Holcomb said Tuesday in his message to Hoosiers. 

It's something Stergiopoulos is still planning to do. 

“We’re still going to have our COVID safety plan, yes,” she said. “I’m going to still wear the mask and ask my staff to please continue to wear the mask.”

When it comes to customers, though, Stergiopoulos says she’ll wait to hear what Marion County and the mayor have to say. 

“It is kind of a scary thing for us to self-regulate that because we’re trying to be a business and take care of our guests,” she said. 

Decisions like these aren’t the only challenge Stergiopoulos is facing. She’s still mourning her dad, who died of COVID-19 last April. He founded the restaurant almost 34 years ago. 

“We’re hoping when all this is said and done, we’ll still have our doors open and be able to do what we do and give great Greek hospitality, what my dad started and continue his legacy and dream,” said Stergiopoulos. 

What that looks like though, coming out of a global pandemic, is still up in the air. 

“We want everything to be back to normal,” said Stergiopoulos. “It’s still never going to be back to normal, but some kind of normal, but we all have to continue to help to do that.”

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