Governor Eric Holcomb opened his weekly live stream press conference Wednesday afternoon from the state house with the announcement the state would move into Phase 5 of it's initial reopening plan beginning Saturday with some slight changes.

The original plan set a date of July 4th for resuming some semblance of normalcy across the state, however as COVID data showed a continued rise in cases leading up to the holiday, Holcomb announced an addition to the plan known as Phase 4.5 which essentially put the state in a bit of a holding pattern until that data started to trend in the opposite direction.

The Governor cited the seven day positivity rate holding steady "around 4%" for the past few weeks, which is down from "6 to 6.5% in July," as the reason for the move. He attributed the decreased rate to Hoosiers continuing to follow the recommended health and safety guidelines.

In the original plan, Phase 5 meant social gatherings of 250 people or more were OK, face coverings were optional, and that all businesses and churches could reopen with social distancing measures in place. Some of that is still true, however a few changes to the final phase have been made.

  • Face coverings are still required through October 17th.
  • Continue to maintain social distancing, practice good hygiene, and stay home if you feel sick.
  • Size limitations have been removed, however if a gathering is expected to host 500 or more people, a written plan must be submitted to the county health department where the event will be held.
  • Restaurants and bars that offer food may reopen at full capacity, but social distancing must remain between tables and bar section customers must be seated.
  • Bars and nightclubs may reopen at full capacity, but customers must be seated and social distancing is required.
  • Indoor and outdoor venues can reopen at full capacity, and must spectators must be seated and social distancing measures must be followed.
  • Senior centers and congregate nutrition sites may reopen following Family and Social Service Administration guidelines.
  • Personal services along with gyms and fitness centers may resume normal operations while continuing to follow cleaning and social distancing guidelines.
  • Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are required to provide visitation opportunities

As he typically has, the Governor has left some decision making up to each individual county, encouraging communities to continue to monitor the state's color-coded metrics map and implement additional precautions if needed.

Holcomb also acknowledged the modified version of Phase 5 will make reopening at full capacity difficult for some businesses and facilities due to the continued social distancing requirements, but also said the social distancing measures to this point have been one of the key reasons the data has been trending and continues to trend in the right direction and labeled the removal of the capacity limits as "progress."

You can watch the Governor's full press conference from today below.

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