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Indiana Paves Path for Fairs & Festivals to Open by July 4

INDIANA STATE FAIR is scheduled for August 7-23

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Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced his plan today to reopen Indiana in stages, and made it official with new executive orders.  The plan, called “Back On Track Indiana” calls for 5 stages to return to normal activities.  The state is already in Phase I of the plan, which began March 24th  when hunker down orders were given.

Phase 2 starts on Monday May 4th for most counties.  Lake County and Marion County will delay the start of Phase 2 unit May 11 and Cass County will be May 18th.


During Phase 2:

  • People 65+ should stay home as much as possible
  • Essential travel restrictions are lifted
  • Face masks should be worn when in public
  • No gatherings of more than 25 people allowed
  • Retail and commercial businesses can open at 50% capacity
  • State offices are open for limited interactions
  • Manufacturers reopen
  • Restaurants can open May 11 at 50% capacity; no bar seating
  • Churches can open May 8 with social distancing
  • Personal services such as salons can open May 11

Phase 3 (May 24):

  • Retail stores and malls move to 75% capacity
  • Mall common areas like food courts can move to 50% capacity
  • Gyms and fitness centers may open with restrictions
  • Playgrounds, tennis courts can open with social distancing
  • Movie theaters open at 50% capacity
  • Community pools can open according to CDC guidelines

Phase 4 (June 14)

  • Face coverings optional
  • Retail malls and stores open at full capacity
  • Zoos, aquariums etc. can open at 50% capacity
  • Dining room service can open at 75% capacity
  • Bars and nightclubs at 50% capacity
  • Recreational sports leagues resume
  • Amusement parks, water parks and like facilities open at 50% capacity
  • Large venues open with adherence to social gathering guidelines
  • Gatherings of 200 people allowed


Phase 5: (July 4th and beyond)

  • Fairs and festivals may resume along with sporting events
  • Bars and nightclubs open a full capacity
  • Parks open at full capacity


Holcomb said these guidelines could be made more restrictive by a locality if it had cause for concern, but overall the progressions through the Phases would involve 4 guiding principles: hospitalization decreases, retaining critical care equipment capacity, and the ability to test all symptomatic residents. The governor said "key principles of health" must remain positive. Those principles include testing capability, hospital beds available and trends in the number of new cases.

Hospitalizations in Indiana have been  decreasing the past two weeks, enabling the plan to begin on Monday.

Indiana is now the first state to explicitly mention fairs and festivals and the majority of Indiana County Fairs happen in July, which will save the season if the plans remain on track.  The Indiana State Fair which runs August 7 - 23, looks to be on track to run given the guidelines from the Governor.

While not explicitly mentioned, it is assumed carnivals might be able to run during Phase 4, the same Phase as when amusement parks are allowed to open though the guidelines do not explicitly mention neighborhood carnivals as stand alone events.

On the heels of the announcements in Florida, the Indiana news is the second in a growing trend of opening plans that give many in the industry hope that the 2020 season is not lost to the SARS COV(2) Pandemic.
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