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Clark County officials weigh in on Phase 5 reopening plan

Stage 5 means restaurants, bars, nightclubs and event venues can all open at full capacity in Indiana.

INDIANAPOLIS — After sitting at phase 4.5 for weeks, Indiana's Governor Holcomb is moving the state to the last stage in his reopening plan.

This stage means restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and event venues can all open at full capacity. Gyms and fitness centers can also go back to normal operation and nursing homes will start allowing visitors again.

It's the numbers that made the decision, according to Gov. Holcomb who said the statewide positivity rate is sitting around 4 percent.

In some southern Indiana counties, it's higher. Floyd County has a positivity rate of around 5 percent and Clark county is around seven. However, both counties are seeing a decline in that rate

"I think it’s a good time to move forward, cautiously."

The governor has told local leaders that they can hold back. and create stricter guidelines for their community.

But Clark County Health Officer Eric Yazel said right now, he doesn't plan to do that.

"With the data we're seeing and the kind of spread we're seeing and the kind of spread that we're seeing, we plan to stay in line with the states guidelines and move forward as they do," Yazel said.

State guidelines do carry a few caveats though, masks are still required, and so is six feet of social distancing.

Floyd County Health Officer Tom Harris has extended Floyd County's mask mandate through at least October 17, saying "the Floyd County Health Department has noted spikes in rates after reopening phases in the past; we hope to mitigate this by continuing the Mask Mandate..."

Other leaders in Floyd County like Mayor Jeff Gahan, are stressing the importance of proper hygiene, social spacing, and masks.

"We will continue with our measures and public warnings of the dangers which COVID19 brings to all age groups," Gahan said in a statement to WHAS. “If you're a higher risk person, you still need to be more cautious.

As the state does step into Stage 5  health leaders here in southern Indiana say they'll keep watching the numbers closely.