Coronavirus

Indianapolis speaks out about whether to continue coronavirus restrictions

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — In downtown Indianapolis on Tuesday, city resident Dawson Crisman said he thinks Marion County’s coronavirus restrictions — mask mandates, capacity restrictions and social distancing — should be loosened.

“People are getting vaccinated. The world is starting to open back up. We’ve got less cases daily than we did in March nationwide,” Crisman told News 8. “Basically in Indiana, people are starting to get back to doing the things they’re doing. I think it’s just time.”

David Whitlock disagreed; he believes Marion County’s restrictions should stay in place. “Why? Because we really don’t know if it’s really over or not. We still have people dying. We still have people sick.”

Changes could come as soon as Wednesday morning. Mayor Joe Hogsett and the county’s public-health director, Dr. Virginia Caine, will have a virtual COVID-19 update at 10 a.m. The update will be carried live on WISH-TV, WISHTV.com and the WISH-TV app.

The Marion County Public Health Department and the president of the City-County Council shared statements Tuesday with News 8. The health department statement said that it anticipates “recommending changes to current restrictions at the next COVID update this week,” and the council leader, Democrat Vop Osili, said the legislative body is awaiting word from Caine on whether to keep or lift local coronavirus limits.

Brian Mowrey, the Republican leader on the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council, on Tuesday called on the Democrat mayor and other local leaders to lift coronavirus restrictions including the mask mandate.

A statement Friday from the Marion County Public Health Department said that, until more people get vaccinated and the City-County Council acts, Marion County will keep its mask mandate despite federal direction issued the same day from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That direction: Masks are no longer needed by vaccinated people indoors or outdoors.

Mowrey said, “Currently, I think what we’re seeing is a mixed-message signal that is saying that we need masks still in Indianapolis, yet the CDC has said if you are fully vaccinated, you are free to refrain from wearing a mask indoors or outdoors.”

The Republican councilor notes South Bend’s St. Joseph County and Bloomington’s Monroe County each has rescinded coronavirus limits after the CDC said fully vaccinated people can ditch the masks in nearly every situation.

Mowrey said, “I think they (local coronavirus limits) should be rescinded completely. I think we’ve seen many other cities do the same that are also very much so Democrat-led cities, such as Bloomington or South Bend, that have lifted their mask mandate. It’s time that we say that we trust this vaccine, that we trust that people will do the right thing, and that we are confident in the CDC’s recommendations to remove the mask mandates.”

Statements

“The Marion County Public Health Department is continuing to evaluate current public health orders in the context of the CDC’s new guidance for fully vaccinated individuals. We are hopeful about our city’s continued comeback, and anticipate recommending changes to current restrictions at the next COVID update this week. This latest CDC guidance makes clear that vaccines are safe and effective and will help us get back to normal as quickly as possible. We encourage all Marion County residents 12 and over to sign up to receive the vaccine at ourshot.in.gov or by calling 2-1-1.”

Aliya Wishner, communications specialist-COVID-19 response, Marion County Public Health Department

“Last Friday, in response to updated guidance from the CDC, the Marion County Health Department indicated through a statement that an update on the status of COVID-19 vaccination and positivity numbers and related public health restrictions in Marion County are anticipated this week. Given the recent change in state law requiring a County’s legislative body to ratify Public Health Orders, the Council will await further guidance from Marion County Public Health Director Dr. Virginia Caine in tomorrow’s COVID-19 briefing about any potential changes to local orders and what an appropriate timeline for those changes might be. In the meantime, we encourage all Marion County residents over the age of 12 to get one of the safe, effective COVID vaccines currently available. You can find more information or sign up by calling 211 or visiting www.ourshot.in.gov.”

Indianapolis City-County Council President Vop Osili, a Democrat

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