Gov. Eric Holcomb delivered a statewide address March 23 to order that Hoosiers remain in their homes except when they are at work or for permitted activities, such as taking care of others, obtaining necessary supplies and for health and safety. The order is in effect from March 25-April 7.

“The next two weeks are critical if we are to slow the spread of COVID-19, and we must slow the spread. You must be part of the solution, not the problem,” said Holcomb.

The first positive case of COVID-19 in Indiana was reported March 6. Since then the number of positive cases has increased on a near daily basis, escalating as the capacity to test has grown. As of March 23, the number of tests completed in Indiana was 1,960, the number of positive cases was 259 and seven deaths had been reported.

“I’m setting the example by sending state government personnel home to work to the maximum extent possible and closing our facilities to public interaction beginning Tuesday, for at least the next two weeks,” said Holcomb.

Beginning March 24, all state government offices will be closed to in-person public activity until at least April 7. This includes the Government Center complex in Indianapolis and other offices throughout the state, including Bureau of Motor Vehicle branches. State employees will work remotely whenever possible and continue to provide core functions online and by phone. All public safety functions will continue.

In conjunction with the closures, Holcomb ordered an automatic extension of all state-issued licenses and will advise law enforcement to refrain from issuing citations for a driver’s license or registration that expires during this emergency.

The state, in conjunction with the city and all hospital systems in Marion County, has activated a comprehensive emergency operations center to maximize hospital capacity and provide joint coordination. The center is charged with tracking the inventory of all hospital beds, supplies and personnel as the number of COVID-19 patients grows.

“I am proud of our hospital systems that are participating in the initial phase of this process, Eskenazi Health, IU Health, Franciscan Health, Community Health Network and Ascension,” said Holcomb. “Marion County is where we’ve seen the most community spread to date, but we will expand this model to other parts of the state.”

In all, Holcomb issued 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. 

• EO 20-09. Continuity of State Operations. Provides for the continuing operation of state government from 5 p.m. March 23 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 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 noncompliance 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.

Links to all executive orders may be found at https://www.in.gov/gov/2384.htm.

The complete text of Holcomb’s address may be found at https://www.in.gov/gov/3233.htm.

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