State COVID-19 restrictions cause confusion for some business owners

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Wednesday’s statewide COVID-19 announcement left some bar and restaurant owners with questions. When Gov. Eric Holcomb said there would be limits on indoor gatherings, he never specifically mentioned bars and restaurants.

Right now owners are taking that as a good sign, but they worry about how things could change in the coming days.

“Several of my friends have texted me this week that are in the bar industry saying ‘hey do you think they’re going to shut us back down, do you think they’re going to shut us back down?’ It’s a fear, it really is a fear,” said Stadium Tavern owner Rob Strong.

Strong agrees with Holcomb who said Wednesday he thinks businesses can stay open, and can do it safely. So far, Strong has had no issue with enforcement in his bar but he has heard challenges from others.

Some neighbors told News 8 they think as restrictions relaxed, so did behavior. That’s why some are OK with going back and even said they expected it sooner.

Douglas Ledgerwood works in the service industry in Indianapolis. He said staff works hard to keep people in masks and away from each other especially at bars, but it’s not always easy.

He doesn’t want to be out of work again, he thinks it may be necessary.

“Just because people aren’t following simple guidelines and as much as it’s sad, it’s depressing at times too, but these are trying times and we just have to do whatever we can to get through it,” Ledgerwood said.

“I think we should be punished for what’s happening here. I believe we should go back to zero, stage one, quarantining, at least one… five no, two no,” said Khyran DeLay.

DeLay has serious concerns about people traveling between counties and what impact that could have on cases.

Strong doesn’t think punishment is fair, however he does want some clarification on what business owners should be doing.

“What is the proper thing that we do, you know what I mean? Like I don’t think anybody really knows,” said Strong.

While there aren’t restrictions so far for bars and restaurants, there are new expectations to add enforcement and signs. Holcomb said some counties would get money to make that possible.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and other health officials are set to provide an update on Marion County restrictions on Thursday morning.