The Daily Reformer
INDIANAPOLIS– When Hoosiers all across Indiana pull off their face coverings and crowd in closer than six feet as COVID-19 statewide restrictions are relaxed on April 6, Marion County residents will stay masked up and a few feet away as local guidelines will remain in effect.
Mayor Joe Hogsett said he will consult with Marion County Public Health Director Doctor Virginia Caine before determining if Indianapolis residents can pull off their masks and go elbow-to-elbow in public this spring.
“With the NCAA Tournament in town for another couple of weeks, with a lot of our students and family members who are enjoying spring break in perhaps other parts of the country, I know that Dr. Caine, and I certainly agree with her, is very interested in seeing what our experience will be, what those numbers will be, when we get beyond these events.
“Until we have greater numbers of vaccinations in Marion County, I think it’s only responsible to continue to mask up, continue to socially distance.”
Doctor Caine said the new COVID-19 infection rate in Marion County is less than three percent, well below what she called the “gold standard” five percent new infections reported.
“Phenomenal. We are definitely at that finish line,” she said, indicating that throughout central Indiana new infection rates have fallen significantly from their high mark in early December. “You will see that Marion County, Hendricks County, Morgan County and even Boone are in that next category of fewest number of new cases per 100,000 residents of central Indiana.”
With state residents over the age of 16 becoming eligible to receive the vaccine on March 31, Dr. Caine said she is hopeful Marion County will reach herd immunity of 70-80% of its population vaccinated this summer.
On Mass Ave., shoppers and store owners said they wouldn’t mind wearing masks and keeping socially distant a little longer if it meant Indianapolis maintained the upper hand against the virus.
“We’ve been doing this a year. What’s another month?” said Marissa Handley, manager at City Dogs Grocery. “Especially with NCAA being here and spring breakers and traveling and such going on a little bit more, what’s another month just to keep everyone safe?”
“I’m okay with crowding in and going back to classes, yoga classes at studios, and it’ll be great but for right now I think we have another couple months to wait and I’m willing to wait,” said Kandy Kendall, who continues to wear a face mask even after receiving her second vaccination. “Not only does it protect me, it protects you in case you haven’t been vaccinated, and what if I carry the virus and I don’t want to give it to you either.”