Stage 5 of Indiana’s reopening plan postponed two weeks due to recent spike in COVID-19 cases

Stage 5 of Indiana’s reopening plan postponed two weeks due to recent spike in COVID-19 cases

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - It is expected to be at least two more weeks before Indiana hits Stage 5 of the state’s reopening plan.

The fifth and final stage of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s “Back on Track Indiana” plan was originally set to start this Saturday, July 4.

The change was announced by state leaders on Wednesday afternoon.

Moving into Stage 5 was the finish line that many business owners were hoping to cross. This phase would finally allow bars, restaurants and nightclubs to operate at full capacity.

However, they are now having to wait a little while longer.

Indiana has just created “Stage 4.5,” which essentially extends the current restrictions in place.

“I like the fact that he’s monitoring the health data and doing things to try to keep people safe,” Evansville resident Jay Oliver said. “So yeah, I’m all in.”

“I would support the idea of continuing to wear masks when we’re going to restaurants and public places, but I would support that we move forward quicker than that,” Brian Conway shared.

Stage 4.5 holds off on upping capacity in some businesses, including dining rooms, bars and entertainment venues.

Many outdoor events still have a green light, such as parades and firework shows.

This phase is expected to last until July 17.

“It’s scary, but it’s also been somewhat of a blessing to just slow down for a minute,” Tammy Oliver recalled. “We’ve just enjoyed the time we’ve had at home just to get bored for a minute and think of some other things to do, so we’re adapting.”

The state says coronavirus-related hospitalizations have gone up in the last week, and so has the daily positivity rate.

Vanderburgh County saw a large jump on Wednesday with 17 new cases.

Pike County had two more cases, which is its first increase since May 23.

Gibson County has also recorded a rise in cases for the last three days in a row.

“Rather than wait and see how that plays out, I think you have to take some action and be proactive about it,” Jay Oliver added. “And I think that is the best thing for everybody.”

The governor previously let many parts of the state transition a few days early into Stages 3 and 4, but Holcomb says it’s the data that drives him, not the date.

His next briefing is scheduled to take place next week.

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