As Tippecanoe County's seven-day positivity rate registered at 9.2% on Tuesday, the county health officer ordered that if that figure equals or exceeds 10%, tighter capacity restrictions will be imposed on restaurants, bars and other businesses.
The restrictions will not be imposed automatically, a Tuesday press release states. The order, which becomes effective Wednesday, gives the Tippecanoe County Health Department authority to indicate a date the following measures will take effect in the event that the county's positivity rate surpasses 10%:
- Restaurants must limit indoor capacity to 50% and maintain 6 feet of distance between patrons of different parties. Full outdoor capacity is permitted, but dining tents are required to have two open sides.
- Bars must limit indoor capacity to 25% and maintain 6 feet of distance between patrons of different parties. Full outdoor capacity is permitted, but dining tents are required to have two open sides.
- Retail businesses must limit capacity to 75%.
- Gyms and fitness centers must limit capacity to 50%.
- Cultural, entertainment and tourism venues must limit capacity to 50%.
- Senior day centers must limit capacity to 50%.
Restrictions on bars and restaurants will remain in effect until the positivity rate has decreased below 10% for 14 consecutive days. The other restrictions will remain in place until the health department rescinds them, according to the order.
Bars, restaurants and nightclubs are permitted to stay open an additional hour compared to the previous health department order issued in September. They must now close at 1 a.m., not midnight.
The order applies on land owned by Purdue and Ivy Tech Community College, but not other state-owned property, the press release says. Both colleges have authority to impose stricter requirements as they see fit.
Esteban Ramirez, Purdue's chief medical officer, has said the county's positivity rates will likely jump 2-4% this week as the University pauses its random surveillance testing.
Tippecanoe County reported 175 new cases of the coronavirus in Tuesday's update of the Indiana State Department of Health dashboard. The 9.2% positivity rate applies to the seven-day period from Nov. 4 to Nov. 10, a six-day lag that allows the state health department to provide more comprehensive results, according to a note on the dashboard.
Single-day positivity rates have increased since Nov. 10, the dashboard shows.
On Monday, 11.6% of cases returned positive results. The two previous days registered rates of 21% and 14.4%, respectively, making an eclipse of the 10% mark a likely outcome with subsequent updates of the seven-day average.
The health department will hold a live public briefing at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. The briefing will be livestreamed on the county's YouTube channel or Facebook page.