INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – Mayor Joe Hogsett and Dr. Virginia Caine of the Marion County Public Health Department announced Thursday morning a decision to maintain local “stay-at-home” restrictions in Marion County through May 15.
At a news conference, Mayor Hogsett urged bravery and patience from Indianapolis residents to continue to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Current state and local orders are set to expire on May 1, with Gov. Eric Holcomb and state officials planning to provide guidance on future statewide restrictions. The Indianapolis order would comply "to the greatest extent allowable" with any new statewide orders.
Hogsett said state data shows Marion County registering approximately one in three coronavirus cases and one in three deaths from the virus compared to the rest of the state. Because of those numbers, and a dense population to increase the odds of spreading the virus, Hogsett is preparing for more conservative measures for Indianapolis compared to any reopening criteria that state government may recommend.
“It’s clear from talking to state leaders and community stakeholders that the challenges we face here in Indianapolis are unique – a city filled with large venues, densely populated neighborhoods, and active business centers," Hogsett said in a Thursday morning news release. "To ensure that we see continued progress in our fight against this virus, we must recommit to our social distancing efforts even as we plan for the future. I appreciate Governor Holcomb’s partnership as he and his team continue to address the diverse needs of Hoosier communities.”
The Marion County Public Health Department will issue an order to continue current restrictions on all non-essential businesses through Friday, May 15. Restaurants may continue to offer carry-out or delivery services. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and other essential businesses will remain open, as well as community service providers addressing the needs of our most vulnerable residents. When out in public, all Marion County residents are asked to wear a face mask or covering and continue to maintain good hygiene, frequent hand washing, and proper social distancing.
“We are seeing some signs of progress," said Dr. Caine, "and I would like to thank the residents of Marion County for taking the public health guidance and travel restrictions so seriously. As we promised at the beginning of this outbreak, we are closely monitoring the data and continually adjusting restrictions to reflect current trends. Still, there is more work to be done to ensure we keep Indianapolis residents safe during this difficult time.”
Marion County is still registering at least 100 new COVID-19 cases per day, according to Dr. Caine.
City will discuss with Simon decision to open malls
City leaders will be holding discussions with Simon Property Group regarding Simon's announcement to open shopping malls this weekend. Dr. Caine believes that decision could lead to increased spread the virus, and cited an uptick in cases in Georgia after that state opened businesses this past weekend.
While Dr. Caine is not recommending malls be back open, she said beginning May 2, area golf courses are allowed to re-open, provided operators ensure proper social distancing among golfers and follow the health department's strict sanitation practices.
Farmers’ markets, which serve as a community-centric source of fresh produce and meat, will also be allowed to open beginning May 2.
Residents and affected workers impacted by COVID-19 restrictions should visit the city’s Resource Guide.
Spanish speaking residents can view the Resource Guide here. Individuals who are unable to navigate the city’s website can call (317) 327-4MAC between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to talk to a customer service representative.