Holcomb 5-20-20

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, May 20, 2020.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Indiana will move into its next stage of business reopenings starting Friday, two days earlier than first planned, even as Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb cautioned the coronavirus is “still on the loose” in the Hoosier state.

The move into what Holcomb calls Stage 3 means that as of Friday morning, stores and malls are allowed to increase their capacity to 75% of normal and social gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed.

There is no change for restaurants, which today are allowed to operate at 50% capacity.

“The data makes us very confident going into Stage 3,” Indiana health commissioner Dr. Kris Box said.

While Indiana has not seen a downward trend in coronavirus diagnoses – it reported another 578 cases Wednesday, for a total of 29,274 – the state still has adequate supply of intensive care hospital beds and ventilators, Box said.

She added that the Hoosier state has seen a “significant decline” in coronavirus-related hospitalizations.

“What this tells us is, our hospitals have capacity to treat those who are severely ill with COVID-19. What it doesn’t tell us is that the risk has disappeared,  because it has not,” Box said.

Indiana has been reopening its economy at a faster pace than Kentucky, which is led by Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, despite the Hoosier state recording a higher rate of virus cases and deaths.

Holcomb said Hoosiers have “earned the ability to move forward” with his phased plan ahead of schedule because of their efforts to stay physically distant, wash their hands and wear masks in public.

“Those things have rally made a difference,” Holcomb said.

Starting Friday, Indiana will allow the following types of businesses and activities (except in Marion, Cass and Lake counties, which are a slower schedule):

- Gyms, YMCAs and fitness studios

- Community pools

- Campgrounds

- Recreational sports practices, except for contact sports like football and lacrosse

- Raceways with no spectators

- State park inns

Holcomb will also allow youth summer day camps to operate starting June 1.

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.