Executive order approves live music

Huntington Mayor Richard Strick signed an executive order on Friday, Feb. 5, allowing venues within city limits to resume karaoke and live music once the owner or operator establishes steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Under Executive Order No. 5, an establishment’s mitigation plan must be reviewed and approved by the city’s building inspector, fire marshal and public health officer before the venue may host karaoke and live music activities.

Strick said the revision was made following dialogue with local bar owners in light of efforts taken in other communities. The Huntington County Health Department (HCHD) and public health officer were consulted on the change.

“Health and safety continue to be our top priority,” Strick said. “With the right protocols in place, the risk of spreading COVID-19 during activities like singing and live music can be reduced. The owners of these venues are taking good steps to protect their customers and staff.”

Executive Order No. 5 amends a previous executive order that went into effect on Nov. 24, 2020.

All other measures instituted in Executive Order No. 4 and City Council Resolution 16-R-20 remain in effect without change, based on the Indiana State Department of Health’s (ISDH) color-coded map available at coronavirus. in.gov/2393.htm.

“Red” Status:

• Restaurants, bars and gyms may operate at 25 percent indoor capacity and 50 percent outdoor capacity. Daily customer attendance logs must be kept at these locations and held for 30 days. Bar seating is not allowed.

• Social gatherings and events are limited to 25 people or 25 percent venue capacity, whichever is fewer.

• All recreational sports leagues will be canceled.

“Orange” Status:

• Restaurants, bars and gyms may operate at 50 percent indoor capacity and 100 percent outdoor capacity. Bar seating is limited to 25 percent capacity.

• Social gatherings and events are limited to 50 people or 50 percent venue capacity, whichever is fewer.

• Recreational sports leagues may continue with up to two spectators allowed for each participant.

“Yellow” Status:

• Restaurants, bars and gyms may operate at 75 percent indoor capacity and 100 percent outdoor capacity. Bar seating is limited to 25 percent capacity.

• Social gatherings and events are limited to 100 people or 75 percent venue capacity, whichever is fewer.

• Recreational sports leagues may continue at 25 percent spectator capacity.

“Blue” Status:

• Restaurants, bars and gyms may operate at 100 percent indoor capacity and 100 percent outdoor capacity. Bar seating is limited to 50 percent capacity.

• Social gatherings and events are limited to 250 people or 100 percent venue capacity, whichever is fewer.

• Recreational sports leagues may continue at 50 percent spectator capacity.

Huntington County’s current status is “orange,” meaning ISDH has determined COVID-19 to be spreading at moderate to high levels in the community. Maintaining a distance of six feet from members of other households and wearing a mask covering one’s mouth and nose in public places are required at all stages of the city’s mitigation plan. Children 7 years and younger are not required to wear a mask.

Since Monday, Feb. 1, Huntington County has averaged more than 18 new COVID-19 cases per day. Interim Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Pflieger attributes a number of new cases to workplace settings, and several can be traced to public locations such as grocery stores, restaurants, bars and gyms.

Dr. Pflieger said it is critical to wear masks, follow social distancing guidelines and practice good hand hygiene in workplace environments and all public settings. When possible, he added, it is safer to use online ordering for groceries and other necessities.

“We are trying to decrease the risk in all of these environments to allow for as much normal life as possible,” Dr. Pflieger said. “We know how a positive case can ripple through workplaces and families and the community. Your behavior can cause an infection in someone without them wanting it.”

Residents who are contacted by contact tracers can help by answering the call and responding to all questions to the best of their ability.

There has been a cumulative total of 3,240 positive cases in Huntington County since the pandemic’s onset, and 74 residents have died from COVID-19.

While the vaccine rollout has helped move the needle in the right direction, Huntington County still has a ways to go.

The county’s seven-day Positivity Rate Moving Average has moved from a peak of 12.7 percent (“high” community spread) on Jan. 6 to 8.2 percent (“moderate”) as of Feb. 3. The rate of new weekly cases per 100,000 residents remains in the highest risk category, though it has fallen from more than 600 per 100,000 to 377 per 100,000 in the latest ISDH update.

Learn more about how these metrics are measured at coronavirus.in.gov/map/
CountyScoringMapDetails.pdf.

Individuals 65 and older, healthcare workers and first responders are currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Visit ourshot.in.gov or call 2-1-1 to register. Local registration assistance is available at 356-2900.

HCHD administers the Moderna vaccine inside the gymnasium at Crestview Middle School, located at 1151W-500N, Huntington. Two doses 28 days apart are required, and it takes about 14 days after the second dose to take full effect.

Individuals who are fully vaccinated have protection against COVID-19 but may still be able to spread the virus to others. ISDH has urged that precautions, like mask wearing, continue to be taken until the vaccine is available to everyone.