Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke on Friday announced new restrictions on gathering sizes at events in Evansville.
"Currently, the state's Back on Track plan requires that any event with over 500 people must be approved by the local health department," Winnecke said on Friday. "Today, I'm announcing a more restrictive measure for the City of Evansville."
Winnecke said that as of Oct. 19, organizers of events in Evansville where there's expected to be over 125 people in attendance must submit a plan to the Vanderburgh County Health Department 10 days prior to the event.
Mayor Winnecke said that the reason for reducing the limitation to 125 was "for contact tracing purposes."
"This is a manageable figure that works for trace investigators and is supported by the county health department," Winnecke explained. "Now is the time to ask yourself if you really need to attend that party, reception, visitation, reunion, or sporting event."
Winnecke also said that the Vanderburgh County Health Department may approve, deny, or make changes to plans submitted by event organizers.
Mayor Winnecke said that the newly-issued executive order will only last for seven days due to state statute and local ordinance, but that it would "likely" be extended.
"By state statute and local ordinance, Mayoral Executive Orders can only be in effect for periods of seven days," said Mayor Winnecke. "I think it's likely to assume that we will extend it beyond seven days at the appropriate time."
Evansville's mayor made the decision following his meeting on Thursday with state and local health officials, where current COVID-19 trends, problem areas, and needs of the medical community in the Vanderburgh County and Evansville areas were discussed.
Winnecke later made a separate statement in an attempt to clarify the new restrictions created by the new executive order, saying, "it is not intended to restrict educational instruction or worship services. However, extra-curricular events, socials, dinners, etc. need to have plans approved by the Vanderburgh County Health Department if gathering is in excess of 125."
Over the last week, multiple residents of Vanderburgh County have died from COVID-19 with hundreds of new positive cases of the virus also being identified. The county is also one of several in the state's COVID-19 'Orange' risk level, due to its high positivity rate and number of new positive cases weekly per 100,000 residents.
Mayor Winnecke had previously alluded to the possibility of new COVID-19 restrictions being imposed within the River City, calling the area's recent surge in new positive COVID-19 cases "a wake-up call."
You can view the new Executive Order issued by Mayor Winnecke below.