INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Gov. Eric Holcomb announced a “stay at home” order for Hoosiers as the state tries to slow the spread of COVID-19 during the coronavirus pandemic.
During a statewide address Monday, the governor said Hoosiers should only go out for essential errands, work or business. The order goes from March 25 through April 7. It could be extended if conditions warrant, he said.
Essential businesses include but are not limited to:
- Grocery stores
- Gas stations
- Police stations
- Fire stations
- Doctor’s offices
- Health care facilities
- Garbage pickup
- Public transit
- Public service hotlines such as SNAP and HIP 2.0
Following Holcomb's announcement, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Dr. Virginia Caine of the Marion County Public Health Department issued a series of “stay at home” orders for Marion County, which will remain in effect through at least April 6. The new restrictions include the implementation of a “warning” travel status, the highest level of local travel emergency, and the ordered closure of all non-essential business activity.
The state will open a hotline to answer industry questions about the governor's executive order. The Critical Industries Hotline will open Tuesday, March 24, at 9 a.m. to help guide businesses and industries with the executive order.
The hotline is intended only for business and industry questions. The number is 877-820-0890. There is also an email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Essential activities include but are not limited to:
- Activities for health and safety
- Necessary supplies and services
- Outdoor activity
- Certain types of essential work
- Taking care of others
“Because both the infection rate and the death rate continue to climb, Indiana, we need to do more,” Holcomb said.
Grocery stores will remain open. Restaurants and bars will also stay open, provided that they close to dine-in customers.
As of Tuesday, state government personnel will reduce staff to only the absolutely essential workforce level. Non-essential state business will have to wait. Law enforcement officials will not issue citations for expired registrations or driver’s licenses.
State government offices will close to in-person public activity until April 7. That includes the Government Center in Indianapolis, other offices in the state and BMV branches. State employees will work from home when possible. Public safety services will continue.
Holcomb said a healthcare-oriented emergency operations center will involve coordination among hospital systems in the state. He’s concerned about the surge of patients that could overwhelm hospitals in the state.
“We need to slow the spread and we need to do it now,” Holcomb said. “We know COVID-19 is spreading across the state.”
Holcomb thanked area churches for livestreaming services and holding them by remote. Church services are canceled as part of the state's prohibition on large groups.
He has signed an executive order to suspend food and beverage licenses for businesses that violate the drive-thru, delivery and carryout only order.
“Stay at home. Get groceries only when you need them, and buy only what you need,” Holcomb said. “I’m telling you, the next two weeks are critical.”
The governor signed four executive orders:
EO 20-08. Stay at Home. Provides for essential and non-essential business and operations, infrastructure, government services, travel, and activities outside of one’s home. Click here for answers to frequently asked questions regarding the stay-at-home order.
EO 20-09. Continuity of State Operations. Provides for the continuing operation of state government from 5 p.m. today through 8 a.m. April 7 with restricted access to government buildings and services.
EO 20-10. Enforcement Directive Regarding Prohibition of In-Person Dining.
Directs that state and local boards of health and the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ATC) take all available administrative and enforcement actions against establishments that continue to offer in-house dining services, in violation of the governor’s executive order of March 16.
Health departments will deliver letters ordering restaurants that continue to provide in-person dining to cease such operations. If they do not comply, fines will be levied.
For restaurants with alcohol permits that continue to offer in-person dining, the ATC will issue an order in writing for the establishment to cease such operations. If the activity continues, the ATC will suspend the entity’s liquor license and will consider the non-compliance at the time of permit renewal.
EO 20-11. Provisions for carryout consumption of alcohol.
Relaxes the sale of carryout alcoholic beverages for dining establishments. This includes establishments that allow for on-premises consumption only and those that are permitted carryout permits dependent on a percentage of on-premises sales.
Also Monday, the Indiana State Department of Health reported 58 new cases of the coronavirus with the total climbing to 259 cases across Indiana.
COVID-19 has been confirmed in 40 Indiana counties. Marion County has 110 confirmed cases, which is the most in the state.
Seven Hoosiers have died from the virus so far, with deaths reported in Allen, Delaware, Johnson, Scott, and Marion (3) counties.
The new numbers show 1,960 people have been tested statewide.
Holcomb's directive is similar to ones made in other states.
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s “stay-at-home” order began Saturday afternoon and will run until April. Pritzker's order means residents can still go to the grocery stores, put gas in their cars, take walks outside and make pharmacy runs.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced the Ohio Department of Health's stay-at-home order for all of Ohio on Sunday.