Yes, Indiana -- along with many other states -- has begun to open back up. This doesn't include Indianapolis/Marion County, the virus "hot spot" where I live, nor does it apply to Cass and Lake Counties, still struggling to get transmission under control. We've got until 15 May at the earliest.
Marion County has had 6,176 confirmed cases so far, with 360 deaths. Roughly two percent of the population here has been tested and we're well ahead of most counties in the state.
Even at this first step in the multi-step re-opening, the state strongly recommends wearing masks in public and frequent handwashing. Restrictions on non-essential travel have been lifted. Remote work should continue for those who can do so and persons aged 65 years and older (or with other risk factors) should stay home. Social distancing remains mandatory and social gatherings are limited to no more than 25 people. Manufacturing can restart, subject to state and OSHA/CDC guidelines.
Retail and commercial stores can open to customers at 50% of capacity, including (after waiting an extra week to be sure) restaurants and bars that serve food. Gyms, fitness centers, alcohol-only bars, nightclubs, playgrounds, casinos and so on will remain closed. Places of worship can open back up starting this Friday under a long list of recommendations to help ensure social distance and safety; elderly and high-risk people are advised to attend services remotely.
That's what the state is asking for. What we will get -- probably even in here in Indianapolis, which is still under a stay-home/limit non-essential travel order -- will likely be "Olly-olly oxen free!" and the yahoos will rush out, unwashed and lacking masks, to congregate in large groups and sneeze on one another.
The number of new COVID-19 cases has barely begun to flatten in Indiana. I predict* that within the next two to four weeks, we'll see a second wave start up, bringing most counties to a per-capita infection rate on the same order as seen in Marion and Lake counties. I can't do anything about that.
We'll learn the hard way, just like we always do, and if we're lucky -- as we often are -- we'll learn quickly. Or there will be less of us, with more compelling memories.
* Based on my vast knowledge of... Um. Of authoritative-sounding guesswork, human nature and popular accounts of people's behavior during the beginning of various historical pandemics: nobody wants to take a disease seriously until the dead are rotting in the streets. This is generally too late.
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