The Monroe County Public Health Board will allow Monroe County bars and restaurants that serve alcohol to stay open until 2 a.m. effective 8 a.m. Thursday, according to a Wednesday press release from the Monroe County Health Department. Bars and restaurants that served alcohol were previously mandated to close at 1 a.m. following restrictions implemented Nov. 18, 2020, by the board.

The decision was made after reviewing state and county COVID-19 statistics and consultation with county Health Officer Thomas W. Sharp and Department of Health Administrator Penny Caudill, according to the press release.

Monroe County has been in the Indiana State Department of Health’s blue category for COVID-19, the category with the lowest recorded community spread, for two consecutive weeks, according to the press release. Monroe County reported 63 cases per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate of 0.68% last week, according to the ISDH COVID-19 dashboard.

This is the only guideline the health department has changed, and other county and state mandates remain in effect, according to the press release. The Monroe County Public Health Board will meet again at 4 p.m. March 11 to review COVID-19 statistics and determine if changes to guidelines can be made, according to the press release.