FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — The Allen County health commissioner has scaled back capacity at local bars, restaurants and gyms and issued restrictions on gatherings as COVID-19 cases have soared to “alarming” numbers of late.
Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter announced Tuesday that restaurants and bars would be restricted to 50 percent capacity and be forced to close between midnight and 5 a.m. Gyms also must be limited to 50 percent capacity.
Events, gatherings and tournaments can have 25 spectators when the county is in the red, and 50 when the county is in the orange.
The restrictions were necessary, Sutter said, because COVID-19 cases are doubling every 7 days. At the beginning of October, Allen County was recording 45-50 cases on average. Now, the county’s daily average is over 400.
Mayor Tom Henry will close Citizens Square beginning Monday, through mid-January. City employees based there will work from home, he said.
Henry said he supports Sutter’s order, but he was in favor of even stricter measures to curb the spread of the virus.
Below is a release from the Allen County Department of Health:
The Allen County health commissioner announced additional local public health restrictions due to the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases in the community.
Dr. Matthew Sutter was joined by local elected officials and hospital leadership to announce the Public Health Order, which goes into effect Sunday, November 22 at 12 a.m.
“This order is focused on where we see the spread of COVID-19 locally and nationally,” Sutter said. “There are many good people who will be hurt by this pandemic, and my goal first and foremost is for the health of this community.”
The full Allen County public health order can be viewed at www.allencountyhealth.com/covid-19 .
The order places limits on social gatherings and events as well as capacity limits in restaurants, bars and fitness centers depending on the county’s status in the color-coded categories established in Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s Executive Order 20-48.
The county will move to the more restrictive limits when the state metric rises, however it will not move back to less restrictive levels until the metrics remain in that state category for two consecutive weeks.
When the county is in the orange category according to state metrics, any social gatherings between 51 to 250 people must be approved by the Department; if the county moves to the state’s red category, events between 26 to 100 people must receive Department approval. Gatherings and events above 250 in orange and 100 in red are not permitted
Additionally, when the county is in the red category according to state metrics, bars, restaurants and fitness centers are required to operate at 50 percent capacity with other safety protocols outlined in the order put in place.
Local city and county elected officials as well as leadership from Lutheran and Parkview hospital systems supported additional local restrictions, acknowledging the community must take steps now to lessen the impact of the surge, enable hospitals and healthcare workers to continue responding to the pandemic in addition to other important medical services, and avoid unnecessary deaths from the virus.