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Indiana To Delay Move To Stage 5 Of Reopening For Two Weeks

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Following a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Indiana, state officials are delaying plans to move to the final stage of their reopening plan for two weeks, and will hold off on lifting most capacity restrictions.

Indiana originally was set to enter Stage 5 of its "Back on Track" recovery plan on July 4, but now will instead begin a new Stage 4.5 this weekend, which will keep most current restrictions in place, but allow for greater outdoor activities. A full reopening under Stage 5 will be pushed back until July 18.

Gov. Eric Holcomb said the state recently has seen slight increases in the number of positive virus tests, and hospitalization rates.

"This virus is on the prowl, and it is moving, and it's moving even within our borders in different counties in our state," he said.

The governor said the rise in virus cases is not as severe as has been seen in states like Texas, Florida, California, and Arizona, and has not put a strain on the state's hospital system.

"All in all, we are managing our way through this, which has been a goal from the very outset," he said.

Under Stage 4.5, current capacity limits will stay in place for bars, restaurants, personal services, gyms, and fitness centers.

Dining room food service will remain at 75% capacity, and bar seating will remain at 50% capacity, as long as social distancing can be observed. Bars, nightclubs, cultural and entertainment venues, tourism sites, movie theaters, bowling alleys, amusement parks, and water parks also will remain at 50% capacity.

Current restrictions for personal services, gyms, and fitness centers also will remain in place, as will a 250-person limit on public gatherings.

In the new Stage 4.5, Holcomb said Indiana will the give green light to mostly outdoor activities, such as fairs, festivals, fireworks shows, and drive-in theaters.

Conventions may open, with a limit of 250 people for each separate site, so long as they can maintain six feet of distance between individuals or households. Conventions also must provide hand sanitizer and other personal protective equipment in each area, and prohibit attendance by anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms, or who has recently been exposed to the virus.

K-12 schools also may begin reopening, and youth overnight camps may reopen.

When Stage 5 begins on July 18, all of the state's various capacity limits would be lifted, though social gatherings would remain limited to 250 people.

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