The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, March 31, 2021 1:00 am

Huntington to ease restrictions

Lifting capacity rules next week; mask mandate to advisory May 31

JIM CHAPMAN | The Journal Gazette

The city of Huntington announced Tuesday it expects to lift capacity restrictions at businesses next week and end a mask mandate at the end of May.

City officials said they anticipate lifting all capacity restrictions Tuesday at business and other entities within the city limits when the county's advisory level is orange, yellow or blue. Huntington County's level is currently yellow.

Residents are still asked to follow social distancing guidelines, and a locally enforced mask requirement will become a mask advisory in the city May 31 unless the spread of COVID-19 demands a further extension, officials said.

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced last week he would lift the statewide mask mandate April 6 and place all decisions about venue capacity in the hands of local officials. The governor also said he would extend Indiana's declared public health emergency until at least April 30.

The locally enforced mask requirement is intended to allow Huntington residents time to receive the vaccine, officials said.

Holcomb also said last week the state will continue to require masks in all state facilities and all vaccination and COVID-19 testing sites until further notice. K-12 schools will continue under current face covering requirements through the remainder of the school year.

Businesses and other entities operating within the city limits will retain the right to enact their own mask policies after May 31. Huntington city officials said they will continue to support employers and employees that enforce businesses' mask policies.

Huntington's announcement came on the same day state health officials announced that more than 79,000 Indiana residents ages 30 to 39 signed up for their free COVID-19 vaccinations Monday, the first day of their eligibility.

Hoosiers ages 30 and older, along with health care workers, long-term care residents, first responders who are regularly called to the scene of an emergency to render medical assistance, and educators and school support staff through Grade 12 are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Beginning today, Indiana residents ages 16 and older will be eligible to schedule a vaccination appointment.

To schedule a vaccine, go to or call 211 if you do not have access to a computer or require assistance.

As of Tuesday, a total of 2,739,390 doses have been administered in Indiana. This includes 1,630,152 first doses and 1,109,238 individuals who are fully vaccinated. The fully vaccinated number represents individuals who have received a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and those who received the single Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

State health officials announced 757 more residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at state and private laboratories. That brings to 685,453 the number of state residents now known to have had the coronavirus.

State officials reported 10 more residents have died, for a total of 12,632. An additional 406 probable deaths have been reported based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record.

In Allen County, 72 more residents tested positive for COVID-19 for a total of 37,824 cases. Five residents died from the virus, bringing the total number of deaths to 663.

At a glance

Fully vaccinated residents:

Adams: 5,148 (14.4%)

Allen: 54,106 (14.3%)

DeKalb: 6,357 (14.6%)

Huntington: 6,825 (18.7%)

Kosciusko: 9,865 (12.4%)

LaGrange: 3,571 (9%)

Noble: 6,433 (13.5%)

Steuben: 7,452 (21.5%)

Wabash: 5,514 (17.8%)

Wells: 4,590 (16.2%)

Whitley: 5,792 (17.1%)

Source: Indiana State Department of Health

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