In accordance with the announcement from the Indiana Governor Wednesday to move the state to Stage 4.5 of Indiana Back on Track, the COVID-19 Community Task Force of Bartholomew County is determining the specifics of what Stage 4.5 comprises for our community.

Task Force officials, although awaiting the final detailed guidelines and instructions within Stage 4.5 from the State, applaud this cautious, modified next-phase approach, which would preserve much of the capacity guidelines with respect to retail, business, restaurants and public gatherings that were enacted in Stage 4, but allow for more outdoor-based activities and events to take place. All gatherings, following the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, will be limited to up to 250 people

The Governor’s office encouraged local Indiana governments to enact more specific guidelines as they see fit. The COVID-19 Community Task Force of Bartholomew County continues its steadfast approach to preserve the safety of city and county residents and prevent virus spread as much as possible. The best and most effective way to do that remains masking and social distancing.  Locally, the Task Force will continue to require all staff in restaurant and retail settings to mask. All residents are strongly recommended to mask in public. Even with fewer restrictions surrounding outdoor activities and events, organizers of such are recommended to enforce social distancing requirements.

“The greater Columbus community has much to celebrate with regards to our successes with keeping the spread of COVID-19 manageable,” said Mayor Jim Lienhoop. “It is that success and those little wins, which have even been recognized on a national level that should motivate us to stay the course and keep prudent. The virus is not gone. We must continue to follow these important safety measures.”

For more information on Indiana’s Back on Track plan visit www.backontrack.in.gov.