During Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb's July 15 COVID-19 update to the Hoosier State, he said stage 4.5 of Indiana's "Back on Track" reopening plan won't be ending this month.
"As we look out and factor in everything that's happening, it's a very volatile environment out there - not just in our state, but surrounding our state, around the country, around the world," said Holcomb as Wednesday's COVID-19 update began. "So we're going to lock in at 4.5 as I said, and we'll be here for at least another two weeks."
Holcomb asked State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box to present some supporting information on why the decision to extend Stage 4.5 of Indiana's reopening was made.
In Dr. Box's opening remarks, she said that "for the second week in a row, the number of positive cases has gone up."
On Wednesday, the Indiana State Department of Health reported 700 new positive cases of COVID-19 throughout the state. According to Dr. Box, Indiana has had more than 4,300 new cases in just the past week, and that during the same 7-day period just a month ago, the state saw around 3,000 new cases.
When asked about the possibility of making wearing masks a requirement statewide instead of a recommendation, Gov. Holcomb said that right now, Indiana is in a posture of working with local communities.
"We're not looking at the one-size-fits-all approach right now - it won't rule it out long-term," said Holcomb. "But we're looking county-by-county."
Holcomb said the state would also consider the possibility of a mask mandate in schools.
Under stage 4.5 of Indiana's reopening plan, restaurants will continue to operate at 75% capacity as long as social distance can be maintained. Bar seating in restaurants is limited to 50% capacity - as well as bowling alleys, movie theaters, and similar facilities.