HUNTINGTON, Ind. (City of Huntington) — Mayor Richard Strick signed an amendment to Executive Order No. 4 on Tuesday morning that lifts all capacity limitations at restaurants, bars and gyms in the City of Huntington and leaves in place a local face covering requirement until May 31, about eight weeks from now.
“We’ll continue to do this the way we’ve done it all along here in Huntington,” Mayor Strick said. “We’re all in this together, and we’re going to continue to carry each other across the finish line.”
The revised order removes all venue capacity restrictions within city limits when Huntington County’s advisory level on the state metrics map is blue, yellow or orange. The change allows local businesses and other entities to immediately resume full operations without delay.
The city will enforce capacity restrictions in the event the county returns to a red advisory level, although this is seen as unlikely.
Requiring face coverings until May 31 follows the guidance of local public health officials, and the key reason for it is to allow time for those who want to get vaccinated and were newly eligible as of last week. It takes about six weeks to achieve immunity after the first dose in the Moderna or Pfizer series and two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
City leaders have worked in coordination with Huntington County Interim Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Pflieger to formulate a COVID-19 mitigation strategy. Dr. Pflieger recently addressed local residents in a letter that appeared in the Huntington County Chamber of Commerce’s April newsletter, writing that face coverings are an affordable and useful tool that should be used until more residents have had an opportunity to be vaccinated.
“The vision is to continue vigilance from April 6 through May 31. This time frame is going to be essential as we will be able to get more people vaccinated,” he wrote.
The local order requires face coverings within Huntington city limits in indoor public places for all individuals 8 or older, and they are recommended for children ages 2 to 7. The order will transition to an advisory on May 31, unless community spread of COVID-19 demands a different course of action.
The local policy changes come as Gov. Eric Holcomb has lifted statewide capacity limits and mask requirements as of today, placing such decisions in the hands of local officials.
According to the governor’s executive order, the state will continue to require masks in all state facilities and all vaccination and COVID-19 testing sites until further notice. Also, K-12 schools will continue under current face covering requirements through the remainder of the 2020-21 school year.
Businesses and other entities operating within Huntington city limits retain the right to enact their own mask policies after May 31 and may also implement their own more restrictive capacity limits. The City of Huntington will continue to support employers and employees tasked with enforcing such policies.
All Indiana residents 16 and older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. To sign up, visit ourshot.in.gov or call 211. Local assistance with scheduling an appointment is available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling (260) 356-2900.
Read the mayor’s amended executive order at www.huntington.in.us/egov/documents/1617716875_82206.pdf.