Evansville leaders react to the reopening of the state


EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- So what will this phased reopening look like for cities in the Tri-State?
Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke walked to the front plaza in the Civic Center Friday saying he doesn’t intend to stray from the plan set forth by the governor.

He also says he thinks the plan strikes a balance between the need to protect public health and the need to reopen state and local economies. But the mayor says data comng in from the medical front could force adjustments.

After more than a month of restrictions, an announcement, long-awaited for some, has come in the way of a plan to reopen the state of Indiana. But Governor Eric Holcomb made it clear, weeks ago, this won’t be like flipping a light switch. Instead, five phases going well into July.

“Obviously businesses have taken a big hit,” Mayor Llyod Winnecke says.

“You never know what’s gonna happen everybody’s like ‘okay if we open back up will there be another spike’,” Jason Elliott tells Eyewitness News.

One of the first places people will see changes is in local businesses with restaurants and bars that serve food being able to open back up limiting their capacity by 50%.

Jason Elliott is the Myriad Brewing Company owner. He says from the beginning, the restrictions caused problems for his business.

“Well our business was built on people being able to come inside and have a beer,” Elliott explains his business is surviving.

In his address, Governor Eric Holcomb made it clear what needed to happen.

“I mean it’s going to come down to us if we stay on this track. If we continue to be responsible, play by the rules, get with the program, we’ll continue to make progress.”

“So if there’s a glitch or a spike somewhere along the way will be able to quickly identify the source and respond in a very quick and appropriate way,” Winnecke explains.

Weeks ago the city announced a task force to help with the reopening. One area focusing on businesses like the brewing company.

“We’ve identified a lot of the challenges and the resources that they need,” Deputy Mayor Steve Schaefer says. Elliott says he’s experienced this first hand.

As for a look at the current state of he Evansville economy, Winnecke says that’s still to be determined. “I think it’s way too early to determine what the economic hit to our city is but it’s substantial. You can’t paint it in any other manner I believe.”

Monday is the start of the second phase: social gatherings of no more than 25 being one of the very first changes. Phases three through five start on May 24th, June 14th, and July 4th respectively.

A full outline of the governor’s plan can be found here.

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(This story was originally published on May 1, 2020)

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