INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Shoppers trickled into some large Indiana shopping malls on Monday as they
opened for the first time in more than a month under a new order from the
governor easing many restrictions imposed to slow the coronavirus spread.
Eric Holcomb defended his decision announced Friday allowing more
manufacturers and retailers to open their doors in most of the state with
the of allowing nearly all activities to resume on July 4.
gubernatorial candidate Dr. Woody Myers, a former state health commissioner,
called the steps premature with the state still not providing enough
COVID-19 infection testing.
Holcomb said he
believed it was important to give residents a long-term look at the state’s
reopening plan. He said the establishing stages for reopening businesses and
activities in stages will depend on Indiana’s number of coronavirus
illnesses not suddenly jumping and putting pressure on the hospital system.
“We’re in a position where we can accommodate that right now,” Holcomb said.
“What we don’t want to do is opening it up all at once and then be rushed
and then find ourselves playing catch up and dialing it back.”
Crowds in the
dozens waited for mall reopenings Monday in suburban Indianapolis and South
Bend. Many stores in those malls did not immediately open.
Tammy Lubelski said
she had been looking forward to returning to University Park Mall in
Mishawaka but did have health concerns since she’s had brain surgery.
“Because I am at
high risk, I do worry,” she told the South Bend Tribune.
“And I saw a couple
of people in the line not wearing masks, so that makes me worried.”
released by the Indiana State Department of Health also added 160 deaths
among nursing home residents to the previous statewide total released a week
The new tallies
show 420 COVID-19 nursing home resident deaths, or about 36% of the 1,151
total statewide deaths. The statistics, however, don’t specify when the
newly reported nursing home deaths occurred.
Indiana Gov. Eric
Holcomb and state health officials have refused to identify nursing homes
with outbreaks, despite complaints from relatives of home residents about a
lack of communication about illnesses and deaths.
maintain those facilities face federal and state requirements to notify the
families about their COVID-19 status.
Almost 75% of
Indiana’s deaths have been among people ages 70 and older as elderly people
and those with serious health troubles living in nursing homes are among the
most at-risk from COVID-19 infections.