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Indiana Daily Student

Monroe County announces stricter COVID-19 guidelines, moves to orange status

The Monroe County Health Department released new COVID-19 regulations in a press release this week that are more restrictive than Gov. Eric Holcomb’s recent executive order.

Some of the guidelines took effect noon Tuesday, and they will apply in the county until the Monroe County Health Department rescinds its health order, according to the press release. They include:

  • Face coverings are required when social distancing is not possible (with limited exceptions)

  • Social distancing, frequent hand washing, avoiding physical contact and other health precautions are required when outside your home

  • Public schools should follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Indiana Department of Education and Indiana State Department of Health

  • All private gatherings are limited to 50 people, and commercial gatherings are limited to 100 people if indoors and 150 people if outdoors

    • Commercial gatherings may exceed the 150 limit if they submit an application to MCDH
    • Note: The City of Bloomington continues to enforce a stricter 15-person limit on all gatherings
    • Restaurants, bars and entertainment or music venues must follow these guidelines:

      • They must provide table-top seating for all patrons

      • All patrons must be seated and wear a mask unless actively eating or drinking

      • Each table must seat 10 people or fewer, tables must be at least 6 feet apart

      • Bar-top service can only operate with one clearly marked ordering location

      • Air ventilation must increase to maximum capacity by opening windows and using air filters designed to address COVID-19 issues

      • Reservations are encouraged

    Additional guidelines released in a Tuesday press release are specific to Monroe County’s color-coded status as determined by the Indiana State Department of Health.

    In the past week, Monroe County saw 366 cases per 100,000 people and a 5.73% 7-day positivity rate, changing its color-coded status from yellow to orange. An orange status indicates that community spread of the coronavirus is approaching high levels. 

    Guidelines for Monroe County with an orange status include:

    • Social and event gathering sizes are limited to 25 people (15 in Bloomington)

    • No self-service buffet-style food is permitted in restaurants

    • Bars and restaurants should use carry-out delivery as much as possible

    • Bars and restaurants must close by 1 a.m.

    ISDH’s color-coded map updates each Wednesday at noon. Here are Monroe County’s guidelines in case the county shifts to a blue, yellow or red status:

    Blue:

    • Residential gatherings are limited to 50 people (15 in Bloomington)

    • Gathering sizes for large events are limited to 100 people indoors, 150 outdoors (15 in Bloomington)

    Yellow:

    • Social gatherings are limited to 50 (15 in Bloomington)

    • Events are limited to 100 people (15 in Bloomington)

    • No self-serve or buffet-style food in restaurants

    • Restaurants may serve patrons in a cafeteria-style fashion

    Red:

    • Further restrictions will be determined by MCDH

    Graphic by Carson TerBush

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