NewsLocal News / May 6, 2020

Indianapolis Leaders Clarify Local COVID-19 Restrictions As State Begins To Reopen

Indianapolis Leaders Clarify Local COVID-19 Restrictions As State Begins To Reopen

Indianapolis city, health and community leaders offered additional guidance Wednesday for residents regarding local stay in place orders. 

Marion County residents are asked to stay at home longer than most of the state. The order includes a travel watch, food and retail business restrictions, and it limits gatherings to 10 people in one place. 

It lasts through Friday, May 15.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett says there are no exceptions for religious services.

"I know how heartbreaking this will be for congregations across our city," says Hogsett. "It is after all, Mother’s Day weekend."

The clarification follows the release of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s "Back on Track Indiana" plan, which began to ease restrictions across the state on Monday.

Ahead of the plan's release the governor said the statewide orders do not override orders at the local level. There has been confusion because state plans allow services to begin this Friday, with social distancing practices.

Marion County Public Health Department Director Virginia Caine thanked state leaders for allowing the county to keep more restrictive local orders in place.

"Until it is safe to lift them, and that time is not now," says Caine. 

Marion County has the most cases of COVID-19 statewide... 6,700 -- and nearly 400 deaths.
An update on plans to reopen the county is expected next week.

When plans to reopen are introduced, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett says they will align with the statewide Back On Track strategy, as much as possible.

"Indianapolis residents and businesses should still begin educating themselves on what each of those five phases permit," says Hogsett. 

Concerning other large gatherings, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department says it will educate residents and give warnings but they are also prepared to enforce the rules restricting large gatherings.

Hogsett says local health data will determine when Marion County joins the state in easing restrictions.

"Moving forward, the state’s roadmap will serve as a foundation for Marion County’s plans and ensure that, as we continue to receive community testing information and data from healthcare providers, we are able to determine a timeline for entering into future phases of reopening for our city,” he says.

Current Marion County Public Health Department Orders require all non-essential businesses are to remain closed through May 15. Businesses with essential functions are permitted to remain open and their employees are permitted to continue traveling to work.

The health department says all Marion County residents are asked to wear a face mask or covering while out in public and continue to maintain good hygiene, frequent handwashing, and proper social distancing.

An update on plans to reopen the county is expected next week.

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