COVID-19 changes coming Monday in Marion County – WTHR

One of the most noticeable changes will be how many people are allowed at the table.

INDIANAPOLIS — As Indiana takes a step back from Phase 5 on Sunday, Marion County will implement changes around Indianapolis on Monday.

One of the most noticeable will be how many people are allowed at the table. Parties can only be six people maximum at restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues.

It’s the latest change business owners must keep up with during the pandemic.

“We have to socially distance them and sit that at two different places six feet apart,” said Smee’s Place Owner Vinita Singh.

Smee’s Place has been open since 1992 and Singh has owned it for nearly three years. She continues keeping up the changes that started this spring.

“I lost pretty much all of employees in the front of the house so I had to work around the clock weeks after weeks, months after months and it has not been easy,” Singh said.

Marion County restaurants may remain at 50 percent capacity indoors and 100 percent outdoors, but bars and entertainment venues must reduce indoor capacity to 25 percent.

Singh says she understands the need for the change and feels hopeful about 2021 as a vaccine is being produced.

“We are cautiously optimistic. We know we will pull through this and we will come out stronger than ever before, but the journey has not been easy,” she said.

Other changes starting November 16 include:

  • Self-service buffets and salad bars are banned. 
  • Karaoke is banned.
  • The midnight closure requirement that previously applied to bars, restaurants and clubs will now be extended to all non-essential hospitality and entertainment businesses, including live entertainment venues. 
  • Special or seasonal events, such as concerts, movie screenings, fairs, festivals, conventions, weddings, wedding receptions or sporting events, are now limited to 50 people. They may include more than 50 people only if the event has an approved safety plan from the Marion County Public Health Department. This is a reduction from the current 250-person limit. All other social gatherings of more than 25 people are not allowed.
  • Religious centers are limited to 75 percent capacity.
  • Cultural venues, music venues, museums, tourism sites and other non-essential tourism venues are reduced to 25 percent capacity. 
  • Gyms and fitness centers, as well as private clubs and fraternal organizations, are reduced to 25 percent indoor capacity. 
  • Marion County will now require a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours for a visit to any long-term care facility.