INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday delayed a full reopening of businesses and activities in Indiana. The state was originally set to enter Stage 5 of the reopening plan on July 4, but Holcomb is moving to Stage 4.5, calling it a “cautious step forward” as state officials use the next two weeks to gauge whether Indiana will continue to move forward or take a step back like other states who have seen increases of the virus. Meanwhile, across Indiana, the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been on the rise. That is why Holcomb said that he is delaying a full reopening of the state’s businesses and activities until July 18. The state’s reopening plan had called for those restrictions to be lifted this weekend, but Holcomb said he would keep them in place until at least July 18. The state will also continue its current 250-person limit on social gatherings rather than eliminating that maximum. “The volatility that we see, even in some areas of our own state, but especially around the country and especially around our borders is of concern,” Holcomb said. Dr. Kristina Box, commissioner of the state health department, reported an increase of 371 COVID-19 cases from the previous day, bringing the total number of confirmed infected Hoosiers to 45,952. There were eight more deaths, totaling 2,456 in the state, not including the 194 Hoosiers who had symptoms of the virus but were not tested before they died. “We’ve seen what’s happening in states like Florida, California, Texas and South Carolina, which are seeing their highest of seven-day averages in cases, and in many cases they are pausing or rolling back their reopening by closing bars and gyms and restaurants and continuing to prohibit indoor dining,” Box said. “That’s not where we want to be going forward.” “More than recognize it, we have to accept the fact that this virus is on the prowl, and it’s moving, even within our borders,” Holcomb said. “And we are living on virus time.” While there will be a temporary pause on increasing capacity in restaurant dining rooms, bars and entertainment venues during Stage 4.5, Holcomb gave the “green light” to mostly outdoor activities since the risk of transmission of the virus is known to be much smaller while outdoors. Dr. Woody Myers, Democratic candidate for governor, released a statement after Wednesday’s briefing in response to the delay in Stage 5, saying while he applauded the governor for delaying a full reopening, Holcomb is putting Hoosiers at increased risk for contracting COVID-19. “Our focus should be implementing a statewide mask order and encouraging Indiana to stay home,” Myers said in the statement. While Holcomb and Box have always recommended the use of face coverings, they have never mandated that people wear them in public. Instead, they are putting their efforts into campaigns to encourage mask-wearing in public. They previewed two videos during the press briefing to promote their newest initiative, #MaskUpHoosiers, which will show government leaders, celebrities and Hoosiers of all kinds sharing their reasons to wear a mask. “This good example needs to spread faster than the virus,” Holcomb said. “It may be inconvenient, but it works.” To keep the public safe during the pandemic, the 2020 Indiana State Fair was cancelled last month. However, a summer carnival will be replacing it at the state fairgrounds from July 31 through Sept. 7. The Fairgrounds Fun Park will be open from noon to 9 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, with more than 50 rides and 540 food vendors on the site, according to a press release from North American Midway Entertainment, who will be hosting the carnival. This has raised concern from many Hoosiers wondering why children showing their animals in the 4-H competitions was cancelled, but the carnival rides, which are frequently touched, will be allowed. INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday delayed a full reopening of businesses and activities in Indiana. The state was originally set to enter Stage 5 of the reopening plan on July 4, but Holcomb is moving to Stage 4.5, calling it a “cautious step forward” as state officials use the next two weeks to gauge whether Indiana will continue to move forward or take a step back like other states who have seen increases of the virus. Meanwhile, across Indiana, the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been on the rise. That is why Holcomb said that he is delaying a full reopening of the state’s businesses and activities until July 18. The state’s reopening plan had called for those restrictions to be lifted this weekend, but Holcomb said he would keep them in place until at least July 18. The state will also continue its current 250-person limit on social gatherings rather than eliminating that maximum. “The volatility that we see, even in some areas of our own state, but especially around the country and especially around our borders is of concern,” Holcomb said. Dr. Kristina Box, commissioner of the state health department, reported an increase of 371 COVID-19 cases from the previous day, bringing the total number of confirmed infected Hoosiers to 45,952. There were eight more deaths, totaling 2,456 in the state, not including the 194 Hoosiers who had symptoms of the virus but were not tested before they died. “We’ve seen what’s happening in states like Florida, California, Texas and South Carolina, which are seeing their highest of seven-day averages in cases, and in many cases they are pausing or rolling back their reopening by closing bars and gyms and restaurants and continuing to prohibit indoor dining,” Box said. “That’s not where we want to be going forward.” “More than recognize it, we have to accept the fact that this virus is on the prowl, and it’s moving, even within our borders,” Holcomb said. “And we are living on virus time.” While there will be a temporary pause on increasing capacity in restaurant dining rooms, bars and entertainment venues during Stage 4.5, Holcomb gave the “green light” to mostly outdoor activities since the risk of transmission of the virus is known to be much smaller while outdoors. Dr. Woody Myers, Democratic candidate for governor, released a statement after Wednesday’s briefing in response to the delay in Stage 5, saying while he applauded the governor for delaying a full reopening, Holcomb is putting Hoosiers at increased risk for contracting COVID-19. “Our focus should be implementing a statewide mask order and encouraging Indiana to stay home,” Myers said in the statement. While Holcomb and Box have always recommended the use of face coverings, they have never mandated that people wear them in public. Instead, they are putting their efforts into campaigns to encourage mask-wearing in public. They previewed two videos during the press briefing to promote their newest initiative, #MaskUpHoosiers, which will show government leaders, celebrities and Hoosiers of all kinds sharing their reasons to wear a mask. “This good example needs to spread faster than the virus,” Holcomb said. “It may be inconvenient, but it works.” To keep the public safe during the pandemic, the 2020 Indiana State Fair was cancelled last month. However, a summer carnival will be replacing it at the state fairgrounds from July 31 through Sept. 7. The Fairgrounds Fun Park will be open from noon to 9 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, with more than 50 rides and 540 food vendors on the site, according to a press release from North American Midway Entertainment, who will be hosting the carnival. This has raised concern from many Hoosiers wondering why children showing their animals in the 4-H competitions was cancelled, but the carnival rides, which are frequently touched, will be allowed.

INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday delayed a full reopening of businesses and activities in Indiana.

The state was originally set to enter Stage 5 of the reopening plan on July 4, but Holcomb is moving to Stage 4.5, calling it a “cautious step forward” as state officials use the next two weeks to gauge whether Indiana will continue to move forward or take a step back like other states who have seen increases of the virus.

Meanwhile, across Indiana, the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been on the rise. That is why Holcomb said that he is delaying a full reopening of the state’s businesses and activities until July 18.

The state’s reopening plan had called for those restrictions to be lifted this weekend, but Holcomb said he would keep them in place until at least July 18. The state will also continue its current 250-person limit on social gatherings rather than eliminating that maximum.

“The volatility that we see, even in some areas of our own state, but especially around the country and especially around our borders is of concern,” Holcomb said.

Dr. Kristina Box, commissioner of the state health department, reported an increase of 371 COVID-19 cases from the previous day, bringing the total number of confirmed infected Hoosiers to 45,952. There were eight more deaths, totaling 2,456 in the state, not including the 194 Hoosiers who had symptoms of the virus but were not tested before they died.

“We’ve seen what’s happening in states like Florida, California, Texas and South Carolina, which are seeing their highest of seven-day averages in cases, and in many cases they are pausing or rolling back their reopening by closing bars and gyms and restaurants and continuing to prohibit indoor dining,” Box said. “That’s not where we want to be going forward.”

“More than recognize it, we have to accept the fact that this virus is on the prowl, and it’s moving, even within our borders,” Holcomb said. “And we are living on virus time.”

While there will be a temporary pause on increasing capacity in restaurant dining rooms, bars and entertainment venues during Stage 4.5, Holcomb gave the “green light” to mostly outdoor activities since the risk of transmission of the virus is known to be much smaller while outdoors.

Dr. Woody Myers, Democratic candidate for governor, released a statement after Wednesday’s briefing in response to the delay in Stage 5, saying while he applauded the governor for delaying a full reopening, Holcomb is putting Hoosiers at increased risk for contracting COVID-19.

“Our focus should be implementing a statewide mask order and encouraging Indiana to stay home,” Myers said in the statement.

While Holcomb and Box have always recommended the use of face coverings, they have never mandated that people wear them in public. Instead, they are putting their efforts into campaigns to encourage mask-wearing in public.

They previewed two videos during the press briefing to promote their newest initiative, #MaskUpHoosiers, which will show government leaders, celebrities and Hoosiers of all kinds sharing their reasons to wear a mask.

“This good example needs to spread faster than the virus,” Holcomb said. “It may be inconvenient, but it works.”

To keep the public safe during the pandemic, the 2020 Indiana State Fair was cancelled last month. However, a summer carnival will be replacing it at the state fairgrounds from July 31 through Sept. 7.

The Fairgrounds Fun Park will be open from noon to 9 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, with more than 50 rides and 540 food vendors on the site, according to a press release from North American Midway Entertainment, who will be hosting the carnival.

This has raised concern from many Hoosiers wondering why children showing their animals in the 4-H competitions was cancelled, but the carnival rides, which are frequently touched, will be allowed.

Hope Shrum is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

Hope Shrum is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

Hope Shrum is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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