(UNDATED) — Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday said Indiana has made advances in curbing the spread of the coronavirus but the state’s mask mandate will continue through at least Oct. 17.
However, Indiana will go beyond Stage 4.5 of the Back on Track Indiana plan for reopening, advancing to Stage 5 beginning Saturday and continuing through Oct. 17.
According to Stage 5, face coverings are still required, and the governor and State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said Indiana’s mask mandate has contributed to the state’s drop in positivity.
This means the removal of size limitations on social gatherings, though events holding over 500 people should get approval from their local health department.
Restaurants and bars may be open at full capacity with physical distancing measures remaining in place. Capacity levels at gyms and fitness centers have also been lifted and facilities can open with continued distancing and sanitation precautions.
Holcomb said senior centers and meal sites can also be opened, again with precautions remaining in place.
Dr. Box re-emphasized the importance of wearing masks and keeping social distancing practices in place. She shared infection rates are dropping in the majority of the state, largely due to these practices.
Dr. Box stressed everyone should get a flu shots to keep Hoosier’s healthy, while warning that the flu has similar symptoms to COVID-19.
The executive order announcing the changes will be posted Thursday, the governor said.