Gov. Eric Holcomb’s "stay-at-home" order comes as the number of novel coronavirus cases continues to grow in Indiana. One economist says Holcomb’s actions are less far-reaching than other states and could help the economy take less of a hit.
Hair salons, tattoo parlors and others will be expected to close. The order exempts many businesses including grocery stores, banks and pharmacies, and allows restaurants to continue offering take-out services.
Holcomb ordered stepped up enforcement of dine-in restrictions for restaurants and bars.
Indiana University Kelley School of Business economist Kyle Anderson says letting some businesses stay open could help lessen the economic impact on the state.
“By keeping businesses open, you know, that might help a little bit,” says Anderson. “But also I think it makes sense because we haven’t seen as severe of an outbreak as other states have.”
He says some of the “non-essential” businesses may have already started seeing less customers the last few weeks.
“I think a lot of those have been experiencing a falloff really over the last week or two already,” says Anderson. “And so closing down, I mean again I think it makes sense from a policy perspective, but it’s certainly going to hurt a lot of those folks and limit their ability to spend and that will certainly cycle through the economy.”
The U.S. Senate failed to pass a financial relief package again Monday that could address some of the financial needs for businesses and workers.
Anderson says without government action to provide stimulus funding, a lot of local businesses could permanently close.
“They won’t survive unless basically they get some support from the government short-term and also, we are able to get a handle on the pandemic and make sure these closures last weeks rather than months or longer,” he says.
Anderson says right now the focus should be less about the economic impact of closures, but instead on ways to slow the spread of the virus and reduce the time needed to stay at home.
Holcomb’s order goes into effect Wednesday, March 25 and, for now, is set to go until April 7.
A hotline has been set up to help answer any questions businesses and industries might have on the Stay-At-Home order and can be reached starting Tuesday by calling 877-820-0890 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a rapidly evolving story, and we are working hard to bring you the most up-to-date information. However, we recommend checking the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Indiana State Department of Health for the most recent numbers of COVID-19 cases.