Gary’s mayor imposes new restrictions amid COVID-19 surge

December 24, 2021 GMT

GARY, Ind. (AP) — Gary’s mayor has imposed the first wave of planned restrictions, including limits on traffic at city offices, in response to surging COVID-19 cases in the northwest Indiana city.

Mayor Jerome Prince said Thursday that the first phase of the city’s two-phase effort would begin immediately and stay in effect through Dec. 31, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

He ordered all city department heads to immediately identify employees who must report in-person for work and the remote workers who can do their jobs from home.

Prince said the goal is have fewer people physically working together in city offices to reduce foot traffic at city facilities during Indiana’s current surge in coronavirus cases.

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Prince asked residents for patience if they face longer waits at city hall due to a decrease of in-person staff, and urged contractors and businesses seeking to renew permits and licenses to do those renewals through the city’s online portal.

Prince said he would announce the second phase of the COVID-19 restrictions next week, but stressed that those steps would not affect businesses, schools, churches.

On Thursday, Lake County had seen 491 new COVID-19 cases and six new deaths in the previous 24 hours and the county’s positivity rate stood at 16%.

“So, proportionately in Gary, we have seen similar increases,” said Gary Health Commissioner Dr. Roland Walker, who advised residents planning indoor holiday gatherings to limit the number of people and allow for social distancing.