masks

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis officials are lifting all the city's local COVID-19 restrictions as of Thursday, a move that will allow full capacity at restaurants, bars, sports venues and other businesses.

The action announced Tuesday comes after Indianapolis had kept a mask mandate for unvaccinated people and capacity limits for many businesses even after the statewide mask order ended in early April.

Federal regulations continue requiring face masks for everyone in airports and hospitals and using public transportation and private businesses can still require mask use, said Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department.

Caine cited the recent low levels of new coronavirus-related infections, hospitalizations and deaths as allowing the easing of restrictions.

Caine said more progress was needed to raise the county's current 40% COVID-19 vaccination rate, with less than half of residents younger than 40 vaccinated so far. The statewide rate is also about 40%, although some suburban Indianapolis counties are over 50%.

"We still have a significant amount of work to do ahead of us," Caine said.

The Marion County changes include allowing full capacity at sports events, including the upcoming Indianapolis Colts season at Lucas Oil Stadium, Caine said.

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