Per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced on Friday that the city will relax COVID-19 restrictions currently placed on bars and restaurants starting next week ahead of the Big Ten and NCAA men's basketball tournaments.
Bars are allowed to increase capacities from 25% to 50%, while indoor restaurant capacities can go from 50% to 75%. Bars, restaurants and music venues are permitted to extend closing hours from midnight to 2 a.m. local time.
"I want to make it clear though that these decisions were in no way driven by March Madness," Hogsett said. He added that the loosening of restrictions is related to decreases in COVID-19 cases and the city's coronavirus positivity rate.
On Thursday, ESPN's Jeff Borzello reported that the NCAA will not have replacement teams on standby if a school has to drop out of the championship tournament because of COVID-19 issues. Any team unable to safely field a squad on an announced gameday will forfeit the contest and suffer elimination.