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Indy Mayor declares 'local disaster emergency' limiting travel and closing certain businesses

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Posted at 12:57 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 21:07:33-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett has issued a "local disaster emergency" for the city that limits non-essential travel and closes bars, entertainment venues and certain businesses like gyms and movie theaters starting Tuesday morning.

The executive orders issued Monday coincide with Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb's directives closing certain businesses and asking the public to limit social interactions. This includes canceling any gathering or event expected to have a crowd of more than 50 people.


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Read the full directive from Mayor Hogsett below.

Following today’s announcement by Governor Eric Holcomb, Mayor Joe Hogsett and Dr. Virginia Caine of the Marion County Public Health Department issued a series of orders for Marion County prohibiting all public gatherings of 50 or more people; closing Indianapolis bars and nightclubs that do not serve food, as well as movie theaters, entertainment venues, gyms, and fitness facilities. In alignment with Governor Holcomb’s directives, restaurants, bars, and retail food facilities will not be allowed to serve food for dine-in consumption but may continue to offer food for delivery, carry-out, or drive-thru.

“These new restrictions come at a heavy cost for our community, but guidance from public-health experts makes clear they are necessary to reduce the spread of the coronavirus,” said Mayor Hogsett. “As we work to put in place protections for affected businesses and employees at a local level, I urge our partners at the state and federal level to continue to move swiftly to enact unemployment policies and small-business-assistance programs that can provide immediate assistance to Indianapolis residents.”

This afternoon Mayor Hogsett issued an executive order declaring a local disaster emergency in Marion County and issuing a watch-level local travel advisory, which advises against travel except when essential, in circumstances such as to and from work, in emergency situations, or to purchase groceries and pick-up prescriptions or food. Marion County’s Emergency Operations Center has also been operationalized with around the clock staffing, convening public health and safety professionals to monitor the developing situation.

Additionally, Mayor Joe Hogsett announced today the launch of a new tool on the city’s website that connects individuals, students, and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic with community resources. By simplifying the information and distilling details from dozens of different sources, the easy to navigate tool seeks to make this difficult time easier for Indianapolis residents. Resources will be posted in real-time and organized by topic, gathering in one place programming made available by government agencies, service providers, community partners, and school districts.

“Indianapolis is lucky to have a wide variety of support systems in place for residents with dedicated service providers spread out across Marion County. But it’s clear that as more programs and resources become available, residents may find it difficult to easily connect with critical services. By launching this new resource guide on the Indy.gov website, we can quickly help people understand what programming is available, based on the unique needs of students, families, businesses, and more,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “We must all do our part – as one city – to support each other during this difficult time.”

“It is imperative that we work together as a community to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep our neighbors safe. The restrictions I am ordering today follow the efforts cities around the world have taken to ensure adequate social distancing that curbs the impact of this virus in their communities – efforts that are proving effective,” said Marion County Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine. “The Marion County Public Health Department remains dedicated to providing timely and accurate information to our community and taking the unprecedented steps that are necessary during this crisis. It is critical that residents practice social distancing, take care of vulnerable neighbors, and wash hands frequently.”

The Marion County Public Health Department’s Order states that the following establishments will be temporarily closed to the public as soon as possible but no later than 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17:

  • Bars and nightclubs that do not serve food
  • Movie theaters and entertainment venues
  • Gyms and fitness facilities.

The following restrictions will also apply, and should be implemented as soon as possible but no later than 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17:

  • All restaurants will be prohibited from serving food to dine-in customers but may continue to prepare and offer food via carry-out, delivery, or drive-thru. Additionally, food pantries/food banks may continue to work with restaurants and kitchens as necessary for distribution of overflow food items.
  • Gatherings of more than 50 people must be cancelled or postponed, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. This does not apply to schools, universities, or businesses.
  • Houses of worship are urged to limit large gatherings on their premises and to explore and implement ways to practice their respective faiths while observing social-distancing practices.
  • Residents should adhere to the watch-level local travel advisory, minimizing travel except to and from work, in emergency situations, or to purchase groceries and pick-up prescriptions or food.

The following establishments will continue to operate as usual:

  • Grocery stores will remain open
  • And cafeterias within hospitals, nursing homes, and similar healthcare facilities will continue operations.

The above restrictions will take effect at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17 and will remain in place for at least the next seven days. Mayor Hogsett intends to seek City-County Council approval at tonight’s council meeting to extend the order through at least April 5, 2020.

The COVID-19 resource guide, which can be viewed at indy.gov/covid, provides contact information and basic program details in order to address a wide variety of resident needs. Indy.Gov is mobile friendly, allowing those who primarily use their smartphone for connectivity to easily access the COVID-19 Resource Topics. Spanish speaking residents can view the Resource Guide here. Individuals who are unable to navigate the city’s website can call 317-327-4MAC between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. to talk to a customer service representative.