INDIANAPOLIS — The state will be reopening a little bit more just in time for the Memorial Day holiday.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday that the state would move into Stage 3 of the state’s “Back on Track Indiana” five-stage program on Friday. Stage 3 was originally set to go into effect on Sunday.
A couple of hours before Holcomb’s announcement, Steve Walter, manager of Bixler Lake Campground, in Kendallville said the campground had a plan in place for Memorial Day weekend.
Walter’s plan was to reopen Sunday morning at 9 a.m., but now he said they are planning on opening Friday baring any unforeseen changes.
Before the pandemic closed campgrounds in mid March Bixler Lake Campground had close to 100% of its sites reserved for Memorial Day weekend. Currently about 60% of the sites are reserved.
Walter has followed state guidelines when it comes to planning for the opening.
“We typically clean restroom and shower facilities four and five times a day on a holiday weekend,” he said. “That will continue.”
He said he is also toying with the idea of limiting the restroom facilities to just campground patrons only.
Also being allowed to open in Stage 3 is gyms, fitness studios, parks and outdoor play equipment and state park inns. Race tracks are allowed to open with no spectators, youth summer day camps are allowed to begin June 1.
The move to Stage 3 also allows for gatherings of 100 persons. Restaurants will remain at 50% capacity and retail operations and malls can have a 75% capacity.
“We have earned the ability to continue to move forward,” Holcomb said. “People by and large have been paying attention to social distancing and wearing masks. Those things have made a difference.”
Recreational sports practices are also allowed to begin excluding contact sports of football and lacrosse.
Dr. Kristina Box, commissioner Indiana Department of Health, said the data makes us confident to move on to Stage 3.
“You deserve to go to Stage 3,” she said. “I have a little bit of a concern in moving from Stage 3 to 4.
“I have concerns and reservations about every step we take,” she added.
In moving forward Box stressed it is still important to practice good hygiene, continue to practice social distancing and wear a mask when you are in a large group. She encourages groups of 100 people to meet outside to help protect everyone involved.
The opening of the state excludes three counties, Lake, Marion and Cass, which will be allowed to move to Stage 3 on June 1.