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Marion County Ends Mask Mandates For Some, Lessens COVID Capacity Limits

By Jill Sheridan, IPB News | Published on in Government, Health, Statewide News
Council members returned to the meeting in person. (Jill Sheridan WFYI)
Council members returned to the meeting in person. (Jill Sheridan WFYI)

Marion County is one of the last in the state to keep many COVID-19 restrictions in place. But Monday night, the Indianapolis City-County Council voted to roll back some of those back.  The meeting was the first with all members back in person since the pandemic began.

The council ratified new public health orders, including increased capacity for businesses — many places to 75 percent — and the end of mask mandates for people fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine said pools will be at 100 percent and dancing can resume at venues.

“This is welcome news, I think, for our community,” Caine said. “But this does not mean the end to the pandemic.”

Marion County has a goal to fully reopen completely by July 4 if 50 percent of residents are vaccinated.

The proposal passed along party lines. Republican Michael Paul Hart voted against and questioned why not end all restrictions.

“Why not just remove the mask mandate for everyone when it’s impossible to enforce who’s vaccinated and whose not,” Hart said.

Democrat Jared Evans said he’s concerned about people disregarding existing orders.

“If you don’t go get vaccinated and you have the ability to get vaccinated,” Evans said, “it’s on you.”

The council also passed the transfer of more than $48 million to the Department of Public Works for infrastructure improvements.  Democrat Crista Carlino said the move includes much needed updates.

“I just want to remind everyone that $25 million of this goes toward rebuilding and reconstructing our residential streets,” Carlino said.

Council members also voted to distribute more than $3.5 million in COVID-19 relief funding from the federal American Rescue Plan, including programs to address the economic impact.