MERRILLVILLE, Ind. (CBS) — Effective Friday, all of Indiana will advance to Phase 4 in the state’s coronavirus pandemic reopening plan – two days earlier than planned.
CBS 2’s Marissa Parra had a look Thursday evening at what will change.READ MORE: 15-Year-Old Benjamin Kagan, Who Helped Hundreds Of Seniors Find COVID-19 Shots, Now Has His Own
At the stroke of midnight Friday morning, malls will be able to open at full capacity. But for the first time in months, it’s also entertainment that can reopen in Indiana – such as movie theaters and bowling alleys – with effective social distancing, of course.
Dan Barton is the general manager of the Stardust Bowl in Merrillville.
“It would ordinarily be a little bit busy,” he said.
Barton took stock Thursday of all the changes he has made to his bowling alley, in the rush to get it ready for what feels like a re-debut.
“The bowling lanes will look the same,” Barton said. “They’re just going to be half as full when we reopen.”
After almost three months of gathering dust, businesses across Indiana are getting final touch-ups before opening their doors for this new world we’re living in – complete with hand-sanitizing stations, masks, and tables spaced apart.
Indiana will also once again see retail stores and malls at full capacity, full steam ahead. Restaurants will reopen at 75 percent capacity, and indoor movie theaters at 50 percent capacity.
In fact, all kinds of entertainment venues across the state, including museums, zoos, amusement parks, bars, nightclubs, casinos, and bowling alleys like the Stardust Bowl may reopen, but only with half the crowds they used to welcome.READ MORE: More Accusers And More Allegations Of Abuse Against Trusted Hockey Coach Tom 'Chico' Adrahtas
“When a customer comes to their lane, it’s going to be sanitized,” Barton said. “Contact points will be sanitized. Bowling balls will be sanitized.”
Barton showed us all the things that will look different at his bowling alley.
“Our employees are going to be in masks. They’re going to be in gloves,” he said. “We also have Plexiglas set up.”
It’s a lot of effort and money to put into reopening under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, but Barton is cautiously optimistic that it will be worth it in the end.
“You definitely miss going out with your friends, going out with your family, having fun for a few hours,” Barton said. “Haven’t been able to do that for a while.”
Lake County, which has been one of the state’s hardest hit areas, averaged 36 cases a day in the past week. In Porter and LaPorte counties, those daily COVID-19 cases are averaging in the single digits. Through Wednesday, Lake County reports 4,057 cases and 223 deaths–the second worst county in Indiana, well behind Indianapolis/Marion County with 10,492 cases and 643 deaths.MORE NEWS: Family Of 12-Year-Old Erica Gibson Says Girl Who Accidentally Shot Her Dead In Hazel Crest Had Earlier Posed With Long Gun In Social Media Video
In Elkhart County, there is concern because of an increase in cases this week, so health officials are reminding people to social distance.