CHICAGO (CBS) — In two days restaurants, bars, malls, and even sports venues in Indiana can go back to almost pre-pandemic rules, but that doesn’t mean all businesses will be full.
Masks are still required for at least another three weeks. While “full capacity” is the new rule, social distancing is still required, which has some confused on the motive for this move.
Thursday the inside of the 18th Street Brewery in Hammond was pretty much void of customers it could hold.
“Technically our capacity is 300 of 400 [people],” said manager Raven Mckie.
Getting back to pre-pandemic normal comes with a lot of consideration, some of which is out of their hands.
“If our customers don’t feel comfortable, then that’s not going to work for us, so I think we’re going to wait,” said Mckie.
But this weekend they have the green light to go full capacity. Under stage five of reopening in Indiana, bars, nightclubs, fitness centers and conventions can open fully as well.
Every business still needs to maintain social distancing, which is something 18th Street Brewery is still trying to figure out how that’s even possible.
“Just because we can go to full capacity, we’re not really sure if we should,” Mckie said.
Gov. Eric Holcomb points to a recent decline in the state’s COVID-19 positivity rate for the change. A maps hows most county case counts are trending downward, indicated by the areas shaded in blue.
The reopening also comes as the race for Holcomb’s reelection bid, just weeks away, heats up. The Republican has faced scrutiny over his COVID-19 policies from those within his own party, for example over a mask mandate that originally came with a penalty. That fine was eventually dropped.
Meanwhile his Democratic challenger, Dr. Woody Myers, starkly opposes the move to phase five calling it the “wrong step.” Among his worries are the fall season and a possible increase in cases.
The phase five rule book is not gospel. Gary officials are looking over the rules and drafting their own approach that will be presented Friday.