Marion County bars, nightclubs can reopen Tuesday with restrictions

Bars and nightclubs in Marion County will be allowed to reopen Tuesday, but only under strict limitations, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced Thursday morning.

The establishments have been closed under Hogsett’s order to minimize the spread of COVID-19, especially among young people.

Beginning Tuesday, they can reopen at 25% capacity indoors and 50% capacity outdoors. Bar-top service will still be closed, and no dancing or live entertainment will be allowed. Customers must be seated at tables containing no more than six patrons and are required to wear masks when walking around.

Bars and nightclubs also will have to close at midnight.

Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department, said social-distancing and mask requirements are widely ignored in bars after midnight.

“They’re lucky, because we looked at 11 p.m.,” she said.

Should a venue be found in violation of the public health order three times, it will be closed for a minimum of 30 days, health officials warned.

Marion County’s COVID-19 testing-positivity rate and hospitalizations have been on the decline in recent weeks, allowing the county to reopen more of the economy, Caine said.

But Mayor Joe Hogsett and Caine both warned it’s no time to relax, especially heading into Labor Day weekend. Following the Fourth of July, the county saw a large increase in cases.

Hogsett warned bars and nightclubs will remain open only if owners and customers follow the rules.

“I promise you that Dr. Caine and her team will go full footloose on your business if you’re operating as a dance club,” he said.

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