INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb is directing everyone in the state — stay at home.
Starting March 25, Hoosiers are directed to shelter at home unless on essential business.
Indiana now has more than 200 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the virus caused by an infection of the novel coronavirus.
The state has already taken some aggressive measures to try to further reduce spread of the virus by shuttering bars and restaurants to dine-in service, closing schools until May 1 and encouraging social distancing.
“With exceptions as outlined below, all individuals currently living in the State of Indiana are ordered to stay at home or their place of residence, except as allowed in this Executive Order,” the governor’s order states.
“To the extent that individuals are using shared or outdoor spaces when outside of their homes or residences, they must at all times, and as much as reasonably possible, maintain social distancing of at least six (6) feet from any other person, with the exception of family or household members, consistent with the Social Distancing Requirements set forth in this Executive Order. All persons may leave their homes or residences only for Essential Activities, Essential Government Functions, or to participate in Essential Businesses and Operations,” the order states.
Within that, all non-essential business and operations must cease. Businesses, including home-based businesses, may continue to operate if employees are working at home.
In a scripted noon address, Holcomb went through a five-point address, outlining new executive orders published Monday with updated approaches to slow transmission of coronavirus.
Holcomb outlined a five point plan March 23:
First, state government agencies will reduce to a minimal workforce to “core functions” only, Holcomb said. State licenses will be extended by 60 days and law enforcement will be not be writing citations for expired licenses during this grace period.
Second, Holcomb then spoke about a central Indiana health care initiative to coordinate and cooperate to maximize care to patients in the state and more quickly response to the crisis, which to date has been most pronounced around the Indianapolis metro.
The crisis is growing quickly and Holcomb cited New York’s quick rise in cases as an example of what Indiana is trying to avoid.
“On March 1, New York had one positive confirmed case of coronavirus. Today, 22 days later, they have more than 15,000 and it’s growing, not slowing. Their hospitals are being overrun which is what we’re trying to manage and avoid,” Holcomb said.
“We know COVID-19 is spreading statewide. On March 6, Indiana had one positive case. Today, we have 259,” Holcomb said.
Third, Holcomb talked about faith leaders and their efforts to continue preaching even during social distancing, highlighting efforts pastors have taken to stream services or reach their parishioners in ways in lieu of large Sunday gatherings.
“Let’s continue to spread the Word, not COVID-19,” Holcomb said.
Fourth, Holcomb applauded the “finest hour” of emergency workers and citizens who are taking on new approaches to responds to the crisis.
Holcomb specifically noted restaurateurs and the job they have done to try to adapt to his earlier order to shutter dine-in service, even noting he has ordered out every day to support local businesses.
That being said, he scolded some.
“We owe it to them to get through this as fast as we can, it was for that reason I directed for restaurants and bars to remain open they must pivot to carryout only, and one week later, we know that’s not being followed by all,” Holcomb said.
The governor said he has advised the state to suspend licenses of any restaurant not following the in-service order.
Within that, Holcomb went to the place many people expected, adopting a shelter-in-place order similar to neighboring states, suspending all non-essential business, travel and excursions for two weeks.
“It’s because we’re all seeing the same trends or waves coming, especially in the dense areas but it’s spreading to all areas,” Holcomb said.
“We must slow the spread,” Holcomb said.
In his fifth and final point, the governor applauded local press for the work they are doing keeping the public informed.
“Lastly, I want to thank our local press corps for putting out critically important information on the effects and impacts of coronavirus,” Holcomb said.