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Indiana delays lifting capacity limits on restaurants, bars

Indiana will keep capacity limits in place for restaurants, bars and entertainment venues because of worries about a possible increase in coronavirus cases across the state, Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday..

Posted: Jul 1, 2020 2:56 PM
Updated: Jul 1, 2020 5:41 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana will keep capacity limits in place for restaurants, bars and entertainment venues because of worries about a possible increase in coronavirus cases across the state, Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday.

The state’s reopening plan had called for those restrictions to be lifted this weekend, but Holcomb said he would keep them in place until at least July 18. The state will also continue its current 250-person limit on social gatherings rather than eliminating that maximum.

Holcomb, a Republican, said he was concerned about recent increases in hospitalizations across Indiana involving COVID-19 cases and other states that have seen fresh outbreaks after lifting restrictions on bars and other businesses.

“The volatility that we see, even in some areas of our own state, but especially around the country and especially around our borders is of concern,” Holcomb said.

Since June 12, Indiana restaurants have been allowed 75% capacity in their dining rooms, while bars, nightclubs, bowling alleys, museums and movie theaters have permitted open at half capacity.

Holcomb started easing restrictions in early May and had cited continuing declines in the number of people hospitalized in Indiana for the COVID-19 virus and the availability of intensive care unit beds to treat those seriously ill.

But state health department statistics on Wednesday showed an increase of 72 people, or 12%, hospitalized with the coronavirus 595 hospitalizations on June 26, which marked Indiana’s lowest level since the outbreak’s early days in March.

Holcomb will let some parts of reopening proceed as planned effective Saturday, including allowing outdoor festivals and the opening of youth overnight camps. Holcomb said schools were still being allowed to start their fall semesters as soon as late July and that school sports and other extracurricular activities could resume Monday as planned.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Woody Myers, a physician and former state health commissioner, said Holcomb’s decision to ease restrictions increased the danger of greater coronavirus spread.

“Our focus should be implementing a statewide mask order and encouraging Indiana to stay home,” Myers said in a statement. “In addition, Indiana still needs to expand testing and prioritize our disproportionately impacted communities.”

St. Joseph, Elkhart and LaGrange counties in northern Indiana have issued face mask mandates because of outbreaks in the area.

Holcomb said he would not issue a statewide mask mandate but encouraged everyone to wear face coverings.

“We know it works,” he said. “I hope people don’t look at it as inconvenient but look at it as cool, like I’m doing my part, my patriotic duty to try to get us through this sooner rather than later.”

Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner, said a mask order could backfire.

“My concern is it sometimes makes people almost more stubborn and stand their ground,” she said.

Michigan’s governor said Wednesday she was closing indoor seating in bars for much of the state after an outbreak tied to a large brew pub in East Lansing has spread to about 140 people from a dozen counties. Outbreaks in Florida, Arizona, Texas and California have caused those states to shut down bars and beaches and curb restaurant capacity.

Indiana’s monthly deaths involving confirmed coronavirus infections dropped by more than half during June. Figures released Wednesday by state health officials reported at least 393 such deaths in June — down from 910 during May and 1,040 in April.

Indiana has had 2,650 deaths of those with confirmed or presumed infections since mid-March, according to the state health department.

Holcomb said he believed it was better to pause Indiana’s reopening rather than possibly face needing to backtrack later.

“This gives all of us a little more additional time to manage our way through this,” he said.

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 196699

Reported Deaths: 7846
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1119484928
Lake12741446
DuPage12312520
Kane9803305
Will9315344
St. Clair4028161
Winnebago3784131
McHenry3218114
Madison263476
Kankakee178768
Rock Island175636
Champaign168619
Peoria163035
Kendall137923
Unassigned1358209
Sangamon127433
DeKalb93830
LaSalle78324
Boone76623
Jackson72219
McLean65515
Macon64123
Tazewell5918
Adams5425
Coles48720
Randolph4707
Clinton41117
Ogle4115
Williamson4096
Whiteside35917
Stephenson3306
Grundy3265
Union32423
Monroe31813
Knox3031
Jefferson29019
Morgan2686
Iroquois26511
Henry2481
Vermilion2362
Cass23111
Bureau2153
Franklin1910
Warren1910
Perry1841
Macoupin1813
Lee1731
Montgomery1697
Effingham1621
Marion1610
Woodford1523
McDonough14615
Christian1434
Saline1322
Jo Daviess1271
Douglas1222
Logan1220
Livingston1162
Jersey1152
Pulaski941
Clark832
Shelby801
Mercer764
Moultrie740
Johnson690
White690
Fayette673
Washington670
Piatt630
Bond623
Hancock621
Wayne621
Carroll594
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Massac400
Alexander370
Wabash350
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Crawford290
Edgar290
Hamilton290
Marshall270
Clay230
Pike230
Scott210
Richland200
Edwards180
Hardin180
Schuyler180
Brown140
Henderson130
Putnam130
Calhoun100
Pope90
Stark70
Out of IL00

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 74992

Reported Deaths: 3044
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15963725
Lake7632275
Elkhart488385
Allen3937163
St. Joseph354682
Hamilton2803104
Vanderburgh199713
Hendricks1901108
Cass17969
Johnson1767118
Porter133839
Clark124447
Tippecanoe122111
Madison98765
LaPorte92130
Howard90565
Kosciusko86212
Bartholomew80147
Floyd79146
Marshall79022
Monroe75930
Delaware73852
Dubois70012
Noble68429
Boone68346
Hancock67038
Vigo66810
Jackson5885
Warrick58630
LaGrange55910
Shelby55827
Grant52830
Dearborn50828
Morgan48334
Clinton4403
Henry38520
Wayne37710
White37210
Montgomery35421
Lawrence35027
Harrison34123
Decatur33832
Putnam2908
Miami2742
Daviess27320
Scott26810
Greene25134
Jasper2452
Franklin24314
DeKalb2354
Gibson2284
Jennings22612
Steuben2113
Ripley2087
Carroll1932
Fayette1907
Perry18612
Starke1787
Posey1770
Orange17324
Wells1712
Wabash1703
Fulton1692
Jefferson1652
Knox1590
Whitley1546
Tipton14311
Washington1421
Spencer1363
Sullivan1341
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1234
Newton11810
Adams1022
Jay920
Owen911
Pulaski831
Rush804
Brown741
Fountain742
Blackford652
Ohio655
Benton620
Pike560
Vermillion550
Parke521
Switzerland520
Crawford450
Martin450
Union410
Warren231
Unassigned0206