Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb ordered a shelter in-place to state residents, directing Hoosiers to remain at home except when they are traveling to work, essential businesses or health care providers.
The governor's executive order, announced in a press conference on Monday, takes effect on Wednesday and will span two weeks until at least April 7. His directive comes within days of similar initiatives designed to halt the spread of the new coronavirus from neighboring states Illinois and Ohio.
“The next two weeks are critical if we are to slow the spread of COVID-19, and we must slow the spread," Holcomb said. "You must be part of the solution, not the problem."
Holcomb followed up on his March 16 order to ban all eateries to in-person patrons by vowing to suspend food and beverage licenses for businesses who fail to adhere to the regulation.
To bolster the effort to reduce in-person activity in the private sector, Holcomb also closed all state government offices to walk-in activity until at least April 7. State employees will work remotely to provide public safety functions and benefits such as unemployment insurance and welfare, the governor said.
Law enforcement officials in Indiana have been directed not to issue citations for expired licenses or registrations for at least 60 days, Holcomb said. All application deadlines for new documents will be extended by 60 days to align with the temporary enforcement relief.
The governor cited the situation in New York, a new American epicenter for the pandemic, as what Indiana is trying to avoid.
"On March 1, had one positive confirmed case of coronavirus. Today, 22 days later, they have more than 15,000," Holcomb said. "And it's growing, not slowing."
Community spread in hospitals has facilitated the spread of the coronavirus in Indiana, Holcomb said, especially Marion County. As of 10 a.m., Indiana had conducted 1,960 tests and found 259 positive cases, according to the Indiana State Department of Health website. Seven deaths have been reported in the state.