INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb on Friday unveiled the Back On Track Indiana plan to safely open the economy and urged Hoosiers to remain vigilant about protecting their health and well-being.
“Across Indiana, we have witnessed a spirit of cooperation and caring for others that has touched my heart. May this spirit of appreciation for one another carry on long after the scourge of COVID-19 is behind us,” Holcomb said. “Hoosiers have done this together and together we will come out a stronger Indiana.”
Holcomb has used data to drive decisions since the state’s first case of the novel coronavirus in early March and said he will continue to do so as the state contemplates a sector-by-sector reset. The state will move to reopen while continuing to monitor and respond to four guiding principles:
• The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients statewide has decreased for 14 days
• The state retains its surge capacity for critical care beds and ventilators
• The state retains its ability to test all Hoosiers who are COVID-19 symptomatic as well as health care workers, first responders, and frontline employees
• Health officials have systems in place to contact all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and expand contact tracing
“As we lift restrictions and more people return to work, visit a store or restaurant, and participate in more activities, the number of COVID-19 cases will increase,” Holcomb said. “If we cannot meet these principles, all or portions of the state may need to pause on moving forward or we may return to an earlier phase of the stay-at-home order.”
Indiana Back On Track has five stages. Beginning May 4, nearly all of Indiana will move to stage 2. For three counties – Cass, Lake and Marion counties – stage 2 will begin at a later date. Phase 2 may begin May 11 for Lake and Marion counties. Phase 2 may begin May 18 for Cass County. Local governments may impose more restrictive guidelines.
In Stage 2 to protect the most vulnerable to COVID-19, Hoosiers age 65 and older and those with high-risk health conditions – who are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus – should remain at home, Holcomb said.
Essential travel restrictions will be lifted, and social gatherings of up to 25 people will be permitted following the CDC’s social distancing guidelines.
The remaining manufacturers, industrial and other infrastructure operations that had not been considered essential may open. Hoosiers who can work from home are encouraged to continue to do so.
Retail and commercial businesses may open at 50 percent capacity. Examples include apparel, furniture, jewelry and liquor stores that have been operating as curbside or delivery only. Shopping malls can open at 50 percent capacity with indoor common areas restricted to 25 percent capacity.
Restaurants and bars that serve food may open starting May 11 at 50 percent capacity, but bar seating will remain closed. Personal services such as hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas and tattoo parlors also may open May 11 by appointment only and must follow social distancing guidelines.
Starting May 8, for all of the state’s counties, indoor worship services may also convene, following specific social distancing guidelines – while those 65 and older and those at elevated risk will be asked to stay home.
If health indicators remain positive, the state will move to stage 3. To learn more about the different stages and the associated dates, visit BackOnTrack.in.gov.
Holcomb will sign executive orders implementing the plan. The executive orders will be posted to www.in.gov/gov/2384.htm.
The Critical Industries Hotline continues to be available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday to respond to business and industry questions about whether a business is considered essential. The center may be reached by calling 877-820-0890 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Answers to frequently asked questions and instructions to file for COVID-19-related unemployment are available at Unemployment.IN.gov.