INDIANA- Northwest Indiana, along with the rest of the state, is set to enter reopening Stage 5, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even though life and business won't be exactly the same as it was before the pandemic, Stage 5 goes into effect at 11:01 p.m. Friday, per Governor Eric Holcomb, the "Times" reports.
Capacity limits at restaurants and bars and nightclubs have been lifted, but social distancing will still be required. An executive order signed by Holcomb on Thursday requires businesses to continue to keep at least 6 feet of distance between unrelated patrons, even if that requires not seating people at every table in a restaurant.
Also in the order the Republican governor directs businesses to maintain enhanced personal and facility sanitation standards, encourage sick employees to stay home from work, and to implement non-punitive sick leave policies to minimize the potential spread of the coronavirus.
All non-exempt Hoosiers are expected to continue wearing face masks in all indoor and outdoor public spaces where it's not possible to stay 6 feet apart from other people, as well as while riding public transportation or in a vehicle shared with a non-household member.
Gatherings or events with more than 500 people also must submit a COVID-19 mitigation plan to their local health department at least 14 days prior to the event and receive health department approval to actually hold the event.
Holcomb described the rules as "the new normal," and insists the measures will protect Indiana residents from the spread of COVID-19.