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Officials concerned over planned sold-out swinger party at Roseland hotel

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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.—State and medical leaders across Michiana are urging people to practice social distancing and use face coverings to combat the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases but that’s not stopping some people from getting close to one another anyway.

A “swinger party” is planned for the Quality Inn on N. Dixie Way in Roseland during the weekend of July 17.

Over 150 people are expected to show up for the party and community leaders say that the event goes against almost every CDC and health department recommendation.

Despite the concerns, organizers remain confident that they have the appropriate safety measures in place.

Roseland’s town council president, Elizabeth McCombs, is “speechless” over the planned event.

“I was shocked…shocked,” McCombs said. “In the middle of a pandemic, this makes no sense to me.”

People from Chicago and other nearby areas are planning to head to Michiana for the sold-out, adults-only party dubbed the "Hot Hot Hot Summer Hotel Party."

St. Joseph County health officials said they are aware of the party and have the authority to shut it down.

"There are provisions within the Indiana Code that allow the local health officer to shut down athletic events or social gatherings in the setting of a pandemic,” said Dr. Mark Fox, the Deputy Health Officer for the St. Joseph County Health Department.

Event organizers said the party will be “tailored to people concerned about COVID-19,” meaning three different colored bracelets will be handed out to each with a different meaning.

Red will mean “do not approach, we’re social distancing,” yellow will mean “you may approach within six feet but please do not touch us even with consent,” and green will mean “I’m here for human contact.”

Fox said the bracelet system is not enough.

"I appreciate the fact that there's at least the one tier that clearly defines some spatial boundaries, but anything closer than that clearly is associated with increased risk, and people need to know that anyone at high risk obviously need to avoid that setting. It certainly is not something we would recommend to anyone at this stage of the pandemic,” Fox said.

McCombs said that she has another idea for people interested in the party.

“Stay at home and don’t bring this to my town. Don’t bring this to Roseland. Stay home. They’re crossing state lines? Stay home,” McCombs said.

The Quality Inn in Roseland only said that the entire hotel is booked for the weekend of the party and shared no other statements on event.

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