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Prince delays Gary reopening to May 18

Contributed By The Gary 411

Gary has the right and responsibility to be more restrictive than the state when necessary

Businesses, churches, and city hall employees will stay at home one more week, Gary Mayor Jerome Prince announced Friday, May 8 after Governor Eric Holcomb gave the green light to local municipalities in Lake County that were scheduled to open on May 11.

Lake County was among three counties exempted from the May 4 statewide reopening.

This week, Indiana joined other states across the nation relaxing restrictions on personal contacts because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Prince said Gary will reopen May 18th, although the rate of Covid-19 continues to jeopardize the city. “We have lost 16 family members, friends and neighbors to the disease. On behalf of our city and my family, our hearts and prayers go out to the loved ones of our lost neighbors.”

The Gary Health Department has reported 488 positive coronavirus cases and 16 COVID-19 deaths in the city. With many residents still not tested, there is concern that the number of coronavirus cases could be higher. On Tuesday, May 13, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top disease expert, warned political leaders about “serious” consequences if American cities reopened too soon.

When city operations begin, workers likely will return to work at city facilities on a split schedule. Next week, Prince said, there will be more details on opening city facilities to public traffic.

Businesses, organizations and the faith community will follow the guidelines of the state’s Back On Track Indiana plan, a five-step approach to gradually relax restrictions set in March by the national stay-at-home order.

“To understand when their industries will reopen in Gary, just as with the rest of Lake County, business leaders should add a week to each date they find on the state website,” Prince said. “If the state plan calls for opening restaurants to 50 percent or 75 percent dining room capacity by a particular day in May, then business operators should add at least one week to conduct business in Gary.”

For one more week, restaurants, retail stores and malls may take orders by phone or online, but their customers must use curbside pickup to get their merchandise. Also, those stores may deliver their products to customers.

Bars, nightclubs, personal services (barber shops, nail salons, hair salons, etc.) will remain closed for one more week. Beginning on May 18, they may reopen under the state’s guidelines for number of customers and social distancing.

Business owners should consult the state website or their state licensing agencies for more details, although the City of Gary has the right and responsibility to be more restrictive than the state when necessary.

Houses of worship should not hold in-person services this week.

Funeral homes also must strictly adhere to social distancing guidelines and not hold services with more than 10 people at a time at ceremonies.

The City of Gary will provide more guidance next week.

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