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Marion County business wonder what’s next in coronavirus limitations

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Mayor Joe Hogsett said Wednesday, based on current data from Marion County, he does not see a need for any changes to mask guidelines in Indianapolis.

Business owners hope it stays that way.

Jeff Huron, general manger of The District Tap tavern, said staff has greatly benefited from the boost in business which seemed to come right after the removal of signs asking customers to wear masks. He said enforcing a mask mandate would not be easy to enforce again.

“I hate to see us go backward just in general. I think we kind of got use to having more freedom and back to a more normal lifestyle and enforcement was not easy the first time,” Huron said.

The Democrat mayor said businesses don’t need to worry just yet despite the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s latest recommendation that even vaccinated people should cover their faces indoors. “But, that’s not a mandate and we have not issued a mandate in Indianapolis as of yet.”

Hogsett added that while he and Dr. Virginia Caine, the Marion County Public Health Department director, look at the data every day, they have not discussed tightening restrictions. The county’s positivity rate has increased to just over 6%.

The mayor said during a public-safety walk at Garfield Park on Wednesday, “The delta variant is a very contagious variant, and it’s a deadly variant and we still have a large number of people in Marion County who are not fully-vaccinated and when you have those two things coming together, you’re going to have a slight increase. We hope that we don’t resurge, but we will watch it every single day.”

What happens next is a concern for the Indianapolis service industry, Huron said, because many are worried another mask mandate would keep people from coming downtown.

“You know I want to be a welcoming place for everyone. I don’t want to be playing COVID police again; that wasn’t fun for everyone, for anyone,” Huron said.

News 8 also talked to Caine earlier Wednesday; she said it’s critically important that people get vaccinated, something the health department is still pushing throughout Marion County.