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Indy workers felt exposed to pandemic during NCAA crowds

With March Madness and the loosening of coronavirus restrictions, lighting technician Jay Higginson is getting more work. He’s both excited and weary about it.

He works at a nightclub and regularly sees people who won’t wear masks. He also wishes service industry workers could have gotten vaccinated before the swell in business last month. Many were ineligible based on age until the state opened vaccinations to everyone over 16 at the end of March.

“We should have been given more consideration, but you could make that case for any job,” he said.

Hospitality workers who supported the historic three-week NCAA men’s basketball tournament, from the stadiums to the hotels to the restaurants, were first left off the vaccine priority lists and then largely left out of the rigorous March Madness safety plans. Many were exposed to large crowds, sometimes maskless, during the weeks that businesses swelled with visitors.