Gary City Hall

Gary pauses 5 more days to reopen

Contributed By:The 411 News

New Covid-19 infections and concerns about more community spread drive delay

Gary will hold off nearly another week to reopen, Mayor Jerome Prince announced Friday.

As a major Covid-19 hotspot, the city’s reopening has already lagged behind the remainder of the state coming off lockdown. The mayor delayed the state’s May 11th designation for Gary’s reopening to May 18th and Friday’s announcement pushes it back to May 22nd.

Mayor Prince said his administration has had to weigh continuing double-digit increases in new Covid-19 infections. The surrounding area also is a factor in decision making. “As we reopen, we will draw visitors from other areas and states that have been more restrictive. This will open Gary residents up to more exposure to COVID-19 virus people from less restricted areas coming here to conduct business.”

Next door neighbor Illinois hasn’t relaxed restrictions. Surrounding northwest Indiana cities in Lake County opened May 11th, while those outside of Lake County came online May 4th.

“My team and I have spent considerable time planning to reopen the City of Gary government, houses of worship and businesses in a safe, responsible way,” Mayor Prince said. “It has been a challenge, trying to balance the needs of a number of groups, from residents to shop owners to city workers, but the ultimate guide has been the safety of our families, friends and neighbors.”

City operations, houses of worship and Gary businesses will begin reopening on May 22nd. Whenever possible, residents should work from home to decrease their exposure.

Residents 65 years old and older should continue to stay home. Gary’s senior citizens are not contracting the COVID-19 disease as much as younger groups, but older residents have much higher percentage of COVID-19 related deaths.

All residents older than 2 should wear masks.

Residents should still avoid any groups of more than 10 people.

Playgrounds, basketball courts, sports venues, fitness centers, gyms, spas remain closed.

City of Gary facilities will reopen to employees, only on a limited basis, on May 18th. More employees will return over next several weeks. Department heads and managers will contact employees with detailed instructions on their return and expectations of those employees.

City facilities will remain closed to the public until further notice.

“I call on our faith leaders to continue to conduct on-line services and drive-in services,” Mayor Prince said. Baptist and Church of God In Christ ministers have already planned to hold off in-person services until June.

All Gary businesses are expected to comply with restrictions until at least May 23rd.

All businesses with any customer traffic must post the legal occupancies of their customer areas on entry doors, registers and points of sale. All businesses with any customer traffic also must post a COVID-19 safety plan directly adjacent to their occupancy notices.

Beginning May 24, all restaurants, bars with food service, personal services (barber shops, hair and nail salons, etc.), may open their sites to 25% occupancy.

Restaurants, bars with food service, retail and any other stores with customer dining and/or shopping areas must continue phone and online ordering and provide curbside pickup or delivery until May 24th.

Beginning May 24, restaurants and bars with food service may open their dining areas to 25% capacity.

Retail stores may open to 25% of their site’s capacity.

Personal service providers may open to 25% capacity and must operate by appointment only.

Bars/taverns/nightclubs/adult entertainment businesses must remain closed.

These restrictions will remain in place until further notice and is available at Gary.gov

On May 15, the number of Gary residents testing positive for Covid-19 was 534; Covid-19 related deaths were 16.

Story Posted:05/16/2020

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