Indiana to Begin Next Stage of Back on Track Plan Friday

Most of Indiana will move to the next stage of Governor Holcomb’s Back on Track plan a couple days earlier than originally scheduled. Holcomb announced that Stage 3 will begin this Friday.

“So at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, when you go to bed on Thursday and wake up, Friday will begin Stage 3,” he said during Wednesday’s COVID-19 press conference. “I’ll sign that executive order tomorrow. We still have some items to make sure every T is crossed and every I is dotted correctly, but we’ll sign that executive order, I will, tomorrow.”

That means gatherings of up to 100 people will be allowed. Gyms, community pools, and campgrounds may reopen then. Retail stores will be able to operate at 75-percent capacity, while restaurant dining rooms will remain at 50-percent.

Basketball and tennis courts and baseball and soccer fields will be allowed to open. “Recreational – underscore, underline, emphasize, put quotes around ‘recreational’ – sports practices may begin, again, following guidelines,” Holcomb added. “Contact sports such as football or lacrosse, those are still prohibited at this time.”

Raceways may begin competition with no spectators Friday, and youth day camps may open starting June 1.

But State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said she’s not recommending that playgrounds reopen yet. “The biggest problem is the number of people that touch those surfaces, right? And children oftentimes put their hands to their mouth and to their face, and that’s a very difficult thing to manage, so we are just not there yet with that,” Box said. “If we could work with our children to continuously clean their hands and keep their hands out of their face, but I couldn’t even keep my kids from eating dirt when they were little.”

Dr. Box said she’s confident in moving to Stage 3 based on the data. “Hoosiers have done an amazing job with the non-pharmaceutical interventions, which people laughed earlier, but that’s basically what you’ve been doing with social distancing, wearing the masks, and washing your hands,” she added. “So as the governor said earlier, you deserve to go to Stage 3.”

But she said she’d rather see large gatherings be held outdoors, if possible.

Cass, Lake, and Marion counties will not be allowed to go to Stage 3 until June 1, however, and the governor noted that county officials could choose to delay that even further.