Marion, Decatur counties hope Travel Warning slows spread of coronavirus

Coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase, officials are hoping travel decreases by issuing warnings.

Marion and Decatur counties are the only two counties in the state with Travel Warnings.

For those living in Marion County, the Travel Warning is in place until May 1.

“The mayor decided that based on the evidence that we are seeing and discussion with our healthcare professionals as well as our advisors, that we needed to continue to extend the travel warning,” said Paul Babcock, director of the Office of Public Health and Safety.

The Travel Warning issued in Marion County only allows essential travel.

“This warning is really designed that if you’re not traveling to go to the grocery store, to go to the doctor, to go to the pharmacy or for other essential services, which are listed on the order, then you should stay off the roads. And ultimately, we want you to stay inside so that you are safe and protected,” said Babcock.

If you violate the order in Marion County, there’s no penalty for now. They’re instilling the trust within citizens to stay home. Meanwhile, in Decatur County, the repercussions for travel during a warning are different.

“It is a fine of up to $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail, and that is per incident,” said Decatur County Public Health Emergency and Preparedness Coordinator Sean Durbin.

The county decided to implement the order after seeing people fail to follow Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s state and county guidelines.

The only difference with their order and Marion County’s is that no restaurants are open, not even for pickup or drive-thru.

The warning in Decatur County is set to expire April 9th at 11:59 p.m. 

“The initial problem here is that Decatur county has per capita the highest rate of infection in the entire state,” said Durbin. 

In a county of 26,000 people, there’s been 59 cases and seven reported deaths, according to the Decatur County Health Department.

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